Month: July 2010

Stephen Schneider delivers a speech at the Bulletin's Clock Symposium in January 2010. Schneider was a member of the Bulletin's Science and Security Board.

The passing of a climate prodigy

A towering figure in climate science, Stephen H. Schneider, 65, died of an apparent heart attack on July 19, 2010, while flying to London from a conference in Stockholm. The loss of Schneider, a professor at Stanford University, deprives the world of both an outstanding researcher and a gifted science communicator. To his colleagues in climate science, Steve, as everybody called him, has long been known as a scientific pioneer and a role model.

Contending with the new “radioactive patriotism”

Contending with the new “radioactive patriotism”

A few weeks ago, it seemed as if the nuclear arms control and nonproliferation communities had any number of new reasons for optimism. April brought the New START treaty, the Nuclear Posture Review, and the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. The 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference concluded in May with a hard-won consensus. Finally, in early June, the U.N.

The olive branch in the West Bank

The olive branch in the West Bank

Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, was recently quoted as saying that relations between the U.S. and Israel were undergoing a “tectonic rift in which continents are drifting apart.” If the quote is accurate, which Oren later disputed, it is surely an overstatement.

Neuroethicists are not saying enough about the problem of dual-use

Neuroethicists are not saying enough about the problem of dual-use

The minutes of many U.K. Ministry of Defense’s secret committees’ meetings held during the Cold War period are now available to the public in the National Archives. Thus, we know that one March day in 1959, the Chemistry Committee of the U.K.’s Advisory Council on Scientific Research and Technical Development met in London to discuss the possibilities for developing new chemical incapacitating weapons agents–including ones with neurological effects–something both the United Kingdom and its allies were trying to achieve.

Setback for WMD security

Setback for WMD security

When the Group of Eight (G-8) last gathered in Canada in 2002, the summit meeting was an unarguable success for the future of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) security. The leaders launched a multilateral initiative, known as the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and pledged $20 billion over 10 years to help Russia destroy their WMD stockpiles.

Against counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

Against counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

It says something about American politics that Gen. Stanley McChrystal was not fired because U.S. casualties in Afghanistan are running at record levels, because the much vaunted Marja initiative has failed, or because the Kandahar offensive is already in trouble during its preliminary rollout. No, he was fired because he and his team embarrassed the White House with carelessly frank talk to a journalist. “This is a change in personnel, but not a change in policy,” said President Barack Obama in announcing General McChrystal’s dismissal.