‘Guess Which Way the Doomsday Clock Just Ticked?’
‘Doomsday Clock: Edging nearer doom?’
‘Nuclear ‘Doomsday Clock’ ticks closest to midnight in 64 years’
– The Age
According to almost every mainstream newspaper ‘The Doomsday Clock’ is a little closer to midnight.
I should probably point out what The Doomsday Clock is at this stage. It’s a project run by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. And its purpose is to convey, ‘How close we are to destroying our civilisation with dangerous technologies of our own making.’
It was started after the end of the Second World War. The threat of nuclear annihilation was the driving force. But it’s really just to help awareness of the terrifying threats that humans bring on themselves.
I told you, ominous…
Ahh those forgetful Americans
The positions of the hands on the clock points out how close we are to ultimate doomsday. Midnight is the end of it all. That means, theoretically, if the hand ticks to midnight, well, we’re all dead. I guess that means we’ll never see it hit midnight…
If the clock were at one minute past midnight I guess that would mean utopia. I assume that’s a position that we’ll never see either. And then everything in between is increasing levels of ultimate destruction.
Such an uplifting start to today’s Money Morning, isn’t it?
The reason the clock is making headlines is because, apparently, it’s now at two minutes to midnight. Eek! We haven’t been this close to doomsday since the early 80s.
According to the Atomic Scientists, Science and Security Board,
‘The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.’
I should also probably point out the furthest away from midnight the clock has ever been is 17 minutes to midnight. That was back in 1991 with the official end of the Cold War.
When setting the doomsday clock the scientists consider a few key factors. One is obviously the nuclear threat. Another is climate change. And then there’s biosecurity and other threats.
They also have a range of statistics to support their clock movements. Some of the stats are fascinating. Some terrifying. Like the US instance of incidents involving nuclear materials.
According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative the US lost 14 instances of nuclear material between 2010 and 2015. They also had 27 nuclear materials stolen. And another seven…well they just sit in the ‘unknown’ category.
In terms of weapons grade uranium and plutonium there are two standouts. Russia has around 1,183 metric tonnes of stored uranium. They also have 177.5 metric tonnes of stored plutonium. The US comes in at 736 and 92 metric tonnes respectively.
The next closest is France with 30.7 and 63.5 tonnes. Did someone say Cold War II?
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How to profit from Doomsday
The truth is while Trump and Putin are in power things should actually be pretty calm. I wouldn’t worry too hard about an all-out nuclear war.
The nuclear war threat has been around for 70 years. It seems that every few years the idea of a nuclear war sticks its head out again. If it’s not the North Koreans then it’s Russia, the US…or the UK accidentally firing missiles at the US (but that’s another story for another day).
The thing with this nuclear threat is that the only beneficiaries of this technology are governments. They have it to act tough and to thwart the potential for a strike at their own country.
However, there are a couple of other threats the doomsday clock identifies that are potential opportunities. There’s always the potential to profit from a crisis. And what better crisis to profit from than the threat of a doomsday event.
I actually don’t believe any of these threats are going to result in an actual doomsday, by the way. They might have an impact on the world. But it’s not going to end humanity. As such, why shouldn’t you look at the predicted doomsday as an opportunity?
While everyone else is battening down the hatches, you could be making a mint…investing in hatch making companies.
You don’t have to be a believer to make money
When it comes to climate change there is plenty of opportunity. The Atomic Scientists chart the rise in sea levels, atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures. They warn it could become a doomsday event.
Whether they’re correct or not, it’s not going to happen this century, or the next. So why not make a bit of coin off the back of this doomsday risk?
You don’t need to believe in climate change either. There are green energy companies that are already returning investors serious money. You only need to look at the companies involved in lithium. Lithium stocks in 2016 went nuts.
I still think the industry is in a bubble. But you can’t deny the returns of some of those lithium stocks. There’s no way that would be the case without the lithium-ion battery. And new battery tech is all driven by the push towards a ‘clean’ energy source for cars and trucks.
Then there’s the biotechnology threat. I’m a bit miffed as to why the Atomic Scientists list this as a threat. They highlight CRISPR as a threat along with bioweapons (CRISPR is gene editing technology). Bioweapons are a potential threat, but CRISPR has the potential to eradicate disease — not create designer babies.
Some of the best performing stocks on the ASX in 2016 were biotechnology stocks. I know because one of my biotech recommendations in Revolutionary Tech Investor was up 423% in 2016 alone — and is one of the best performing stocks of all stocks on the ASX right now.
The point is that the concept of doomsday can obviously be terrifying. But when you really think about it, it’s a lot less likely than the headlines will have you believe. And if you’re smart about it you can take the risks that push us closer to doomsday and possibly turn a profit from them.