Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Real Nuclear Threat

[Please note: all new original content will only be accessible in full to those who pledge a minimum of US$1 per month through Patreon. Worthwhile content doesn't grow on magical content trees, you know. I intend to continue posting every Tuesday.]

On January 26, 2017 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board has moved up its Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to metaphorical midnight, and it now stands at just 2.5 minutes to midnight. Why did the Board decide to make this change? Essentially, “because Donald Trump.” In other news, the Board also observed that although the Paris climate accord is a good thing, the climate is pretty close to midnight as well.

These are very serious people: well-educated, professional, some Nobel Prize winners—in a word, experts. We should trust their word. But then they trust Donald Trump’s word. What gives? Apparently, none of them are experts on Donald Trump. I don’t pretend to be one either, so for the paragraph that follows let me turn it over to my old friend and resident expert on all things Trump, Captain Obvious.

“If you look at Trump’s business dealings, he has been consistently cautious and risk-averse. If you look at his political maneuverings, and glance briefly at his book, The Art of the Deal, you discover that his negotiating technique always involves making an extreme first offer, then seeking compromise. And if you look at his Twitter feed, you discover that he loves to troll people. Have these respected Atomic Scientists been trolled? It would certainly appear that way…”

And so I remain entirely unimpressed by the untestable hypothesis espoused by the atomic experts that Trump’s mouth is capable of moving the minute hand of the doomsday clock. But I am even less impressed by something else: the complete and utter failure of these nuclear sages to understand what the actual nuclear threat is, which is, at this moment, becoming quite extreme. For this they may perhaps be forgiven; if all they do is read and listen to Western media sources, then they would never find out anything about it. Western intelligence sources are no better, seeing as they appear to have been “hacked by the Russians.”

In fact, it would appear that the only way to get an inkling of what’s really going on…

Continue reading…

12 comments :

Howard Skillington said...

The explanatory power of the observations you share with us is a known quantity, but it might be helpful for you to outline for us what your posting plans are for the weeks and months ahead, as we consider what would be an appropriate level of Patreon support.

Can we anticipate "Patrons Only" posts weekly? Monthly? Will this private section of Club Orlov be reserved for your own posts, or will guest writers be featured there, as well?

sjoh said...

Happy to become a patron. After 10 years of posting excellent content for free, I think it's reasonable that we readers contribute something regularly for your efforts. Hope that it's a funding model that works out well & helps you keep up the momentum.

Island Poet said...

I will continue to read your books, from the library, and look forward to seeing how the Quidnon project takes shape, but I'm not paying to read any blog; perhaps I have been spoiled by a lifetime of free content on radio, tv and the internet? I also won't pay to read the NYT, CSM or Guardian, so it's not about you personally. If this method of funding works out, then I will be happy for you. Good luck!

Esn said...

Dmitry, you should make the Patreon button much more prominent on your website, perhaps instead of the "Donate" button you currently have, or above it. There's no need to be passive-aggressive about these things; many would be happy to "patronize" your writing. But you're making some simple, easily-fixed mistakes in terms of persuading people to do it. For example, you didn't even include a link to your Patreon page at the top of this post. People have go on a scavenger hunt looking for it (by clicking on "continue reading" and then searching for it at the bottom of your post). It's almost as if you're making this intentionally difficult.

theotherside said...

Dmitry – thank you for all the blog posts over the years and I like how you just “ripped the plaster off” by just making the change with no announcement or forewarning. It is interesting to get the question I have had for years answered can a blogger survive on the proceeds from book sales, which clearly, they can’t. As someone who has bought every book you have written and contributed to the funding drive for the new engine a while back it is sad to see the paywall come up but inevitable if others aren’t doing the same as I around supporting an author with a unique perspective.

mr. no said...

As another side comment about funding the author, I wanted to gift a kindle copy of "Shrinking..." to a friend (I know, I know, kindle IS part of the technosphere), but it seems impossible right now, even when the amazon help explain how (tip: the button or link they refer to doesn't exist). It is all very ironic.
Just so you know...
Regards

RogerCO said...

No problem with contributing to keep you afloat (pun intended) but there is a problem in contributing in dollars by card which attracts a hefty currency surcharge. If I contribute only $1 a month I end up paying another $4 equivalent to banks for the privilege.
Assuming sterling (or Euro) transactions carry the opposite problem from your point of view how about allowing a one off annual payment of say $25 which would at least dilute the transaction fees?

RogerCO in the UK

Karl said...

I have been reading your blog for years and have purchased several of your books. Being of limited financial means I have to say that your new paywall is quite disappointing. I will miss reading your social commentary and profound viewpoints. Good luck with your endeavors. I hope you can get the amount of money you need to feel secure and happy. Thanks for all the years of great public service.

Dmitry Orlov said...

RogerCO -

You can set up a PayPal account, transfer some funds into it once, and 12 USD will take care of it for a whole year. I have no control over how Patreon does things.

Esteban Español said...

I will back your great posts en Patreon Dmitry, but remembering your post about "the magic content tree" I suspect this sudden change in your blog is more that just to pay bills, I bet it is some kind of experiment with your readers. We will see in next posts...

Slo Mo said...

Esteban, it's more likely, in my opinion, that the change has something to do with the timing of the collapse. As it turns out it's not happening right now this moment, and you still need money for your kids upbringing. Unless you go full Captain Fantastic. And even in the movie they hedged their bets.

Slo

DeVaul said...

Well, keep in mind that Dmitry and his family live on a boat and have no permanent land residence, as far as I know. His income has always been a mystery to me, but I assumed it came from the sale of his books alone and perhaps some speaking fees. This cannot amount to much because the topic of "collapse" is not one that most Americans are even willing to listen to, so why would they buy a book about it?

When I was signing up for Partronus, I had to search for his name and I was presented with about 6 other people that the website said I might be interested in supporting. One of them, Howard Kunstler, was raking in over $3,500 a month for his one weekly article -- which is mainly a rant (although a funny one). I stopped reading it many years ago because it never really deviated from that. Others were receiving various lesser amounts from their patrons, but far more than Dmitry was receiving for his intriguing articles.

Twelve dollars a year is a small price to pay for the excellent, thought provoking articles that appear on his website, in my opinion. We should be grateful for the time he has put into this while trying to maintain a boat as a home and also write about his favorite topic: boats.