Month: January 2013

Where women warriors will lead

Where women warriors will lead

The announcement that the Pentagon will open combat positions to women marks the third great turn toward integration and equality in the history of the US military. The first came in 1948 when President Harry Truman ordered racial desegregation of the armed forces. Thanks to Truman, we now accept a situation that was deeply troubling to some at the time: white soldiers serving under black officers. The second integrationist turn came with the decision, initiated by President Clinton and finalized under President Obama, to allow gay men and women to serve in the military.

Reality check

Reality check

In January the World Wildlife Fund released a report asserting that Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, and the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh could meet 100 percent of their projected electricity needs in 2050 by installing solar photovoltaic power plants on less than one percent of their total land area. Which would be excellent news if all anyone needed to make electricity was land and sunshine.

Rieser Fellowship deadline extended to March 15

Rieser Fellowship deadline extended to March 15

Rieser Fellowships provide the successful undergraduate applicants with a one-time award of up to $4,000 to pursue projects that explore issues at the intersection of science, global security, and public policy, focusing on a significant aspect of nuclear security, climate stabilization or biotechnology. Click here for additional details and the online application form.

Undermining Obamacare

Undermining Obamacare

Now that President Barack Obama has been reelected, his Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” will move forward, which is good news for the health, safety, and security of the United States. But setting up Obamacare and actually providing it are two different challenges. Both will be hard.

On second thought: IAEA re-categorizes the operational status for 47 of Japan’s nuclear reactors

On second thought: IAEA re-categorizes the operational status for 47 of Japan’s nuclear reactors

Update: On January 18, 2013, the operational information included in the International Atomic Energy Agency's Power Reactor Information System database was reversed. The following day, the agency stated in a press release that the significant move was due to a "clerical error" by Japan's Nuclear Energy Safety Organization, which is the agency's counterpart in Japan.

Nuclear myths (and realities)

Nuclear myths (and realities)

As the Obama administration contemplates further changes to US nuclear policy and posture in its second term, it will no doubt encounter opposition from those who argue that the world is too dangerous and complex to permit further reductions in US and global nuclear force levels. Critics will make many assertions in support of their case, but two claims in particular are likely to underpin their defense of the status quo.

Doomsday Clock remains at five minutes to midnight

Doomsday Clock remains at five minutes to midnight

The politics of economic recovery have distracted world leaders from the long-term threats that face humanity, specifically the dangers presented by climate change and nuclear weapons, observed the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as it announced today that the minute hand of its Doomsday Clock will remain at five minutes to midnight. “2012 was a year in which global problems pressed forward, but too many of its citizens stood back.”

An open letter to President Obama: The time on the Doomsday Clock is five minutes to midnight

An open letter to President Obama: The time on the Doomsday Clock is five minutes to midnight

Editor's note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero), to convey threats to humanity and the planet.

A threat that demands action

A threat that demands action

For years, American politicians on both sides of the aisle have agreed that nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious national security threats the United States faces. In 2013, President Obama must capitalize on this rare consensus point and on his own power as a second-term president. After all, despite ongoing polarization in Washington, bipartisan cooperation has been the norm for nuclear security since the launch of the Nunn-Lugar program more than two decades ago, making the issue a unique outlier in Washington — and for good reason.

Crossing the climate “red line”

Crossing the climate “red line”

“At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his remarks at the United Nations last September. “That’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear program.” Holding up a cartoon of a bomb — the image looked like something Wile E.