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Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category

Oct 4, 2022

Putin may test underwater nuke 150 times stronger than Hiroshima bomb near Ukrainian border: report

Posted by in categories: drones, existential risks, military

Defense officials fear Russian President Vladimir Putin may flex his military power by testing a massive nuclear torpedo called Poseidon, a report said.

NATO reportedly issued an intelligence report to its members and allies warning that the Kremlin is planning to test so-called “doomsday” nuclear torpedo drones, a senior UK defense source told the Times of London on Monday.

Poseidon is a long-range undersea nuke designed to hit coastal cities at extremely long range by traveling to targets underwater.

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Oct 3, 2022

North Korea fires a ballistic missile over Japan

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Tuesday fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, its neighbors said, escalating tests of weapons designed to strike key targets in regional U.S. allies.

It is the most significant missile test by North Korea since January, when it fired the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam. It is also the first time that a North Korean missile has flown over Japan since 2017.

The Japanese prime minister’s office said at least one missile fired from North Korea flew over Japan and was believed to have landed in the Pacific Ocean.

Oct 1, 2022

Russia’s annexation puts world ‘two or three steps away’ from nuclear war

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

Putin has previously threatened to resort to nuclear weapons if Russia’s goals in Ukraine continue to be thwarted. The annexation brings the use of a nuclear weapon a step closer by giving Putin a potential justification on the grounds that “the territorial integrity of our country is threatened,” as he put it in his speech last week.

He renewed the threat on Friday with an ominous comment that the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki created a “precedent” for the use of nuclear weapons, echoing references he has made in the past to the U.S. invasion of Iraq as setting a precedent for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sep 27, 2022

DART asteroid impact impresses in ESA’s view from the ground

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Last night at 23:14 UTC, NASA’s DART spacecraft successfully struck asteroid Dimorphos, the 160-metre moonlet orbiting around the larger Didymos asteroid. About 38 seconds later, the time it took for the light to arrive at Earth, people all over the world saw the abrupt end of the live stream from the spacecraft, signalling that the impact had happened successfully – DART was no more.

Astronomers on a small slice of our planet’s surface, extending from southern and eastern Africa to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Peninsula, could actually watch it live with their telescopes. Among those were a half dozen stations joined together for a dedicated observing campaign organised by ESA’s Planetary Defence Office and coordinated by the team of observers of the Agency’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre (NEOCC). As usual, when such a timely astronomical event happens, not all stations were successful in their observations: clouds, technical problems and other issues always affect real-life observations.

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Sep 27, 2022

‘Iconic’ plant family at risk: Scientists estimate more than half of palm species may be threatened with extinction

Posted by in categories: existential risks, robotics/AI

In a new paper published today in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, scientists have estimated the conservation status of nearly 1,900 palm species using artificial intelligence, and found more than 1,000 may be at risk of extinction.

The international team of researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the University of Zurich, and the University of Amsterdam, combined existing data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List with novel machine learning techniques to paint a clearer picture of how palms may be threatened. Although popular and well represented on the Red List, the threat to some 70% of these plants has remained unclear until now.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is widely considered to be a gold standard for evaluating the conservation status of animal, plant, and . But there are gaps in the Red List that need to be addressed, as not all species have been listed and many of the assessments are in need of an update. Conservation efforts are further complicated by inadequate funding, the sheer amount of time needed to manually assess a species, and public perception favoring certain over plants and fungi.

Sep 26, 2022

Tech billionaires are poised to make their escape from a ‘possible apocalypse’ through luxury bunkers

Posted by in category: existential risks

“Tech billionaires are buying up luxurious bunkers to survive a societal collapse they helped create,” Rushkoff says.

The world is going to hell in a handbasket. And no, we’re not saying that; science does. It seems that billionaires cannot ignore all the signals pointing at a doomsday scenario while trying to make their way out of this world — or stay in this world.

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Sep 24, 2022

NASA gears up to deflect asteroid, in key test of planetary defense

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Bet the dinosaurs wish they’d thought of this.

NASA on Monday will attempt a feat humanity has never before accomplished: deliberately smacking a spacecraft into an asteroid to slightly deflect its orbit, in a key test of our ability to stop cosmic objects from devastating life on Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spaceship launched from California last November and is fast approaching its target, which it will strike at roughly 14,000 miles per hour (23,000 kph).

Sep 24, 2022

A third of scientists working on AI say it could cause global disaster

Posted by in categories: existential risks, robotics/AI

A survey of artificial intelligence researchers found that 36 per cent believe AIs could cause a catastrophe on the scale of nuclear war.

Sep 24, 2022

The Doomsday Explosive! (The Neutronium Bomb)

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

Neutronium was the material used in the hull of the doomsday machine in Star Trek.

Now I’m not terribly sure what the mechanical properties of neutronium would be like. It certainly is very dense (about a billion tons per cm3, about the volume of the end of your little finger), but it interacts with matter only weakly. I would expect both it to be pretty inefficient at stopping both electromagnetic radiation (neutrons only have a magnetic moment), and matter.

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Sep 24, 2022

JWST observes Earendel — the most distant star known — 12.8 billion ly away | Night Sky News Sep ‘22

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, chemistry, existential risks, information science, physics

For Physics & Chemistry experiments for kids delivered to your door head to https://melscience.com/sBIs/ and use promo code DRBECKY50 for 50% off the first month of any subscription (valid until 22nd October 2022).

To find out whether you can see the partial solar eclipse on 25th October 2022 put in your location here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2022-october-25

Continue reading “JWST observes Earendel — the most distant star known — 12.8 billion ly away | Night Sky News Sep ‘22” »

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