A year of Bulletin impact, across the Web

By Janice Sinclaire, December 22, 2017

The Korean Peninsula is at a tipping point; the US government seems determined to erase science and evidence-based decision making from all aspects of public policy, perhaps best illustrated by its decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement; Congress has punted the Iran nuclear agreement back to the Trump administration; and the debate over presidential authority to use nuclear weapons continues.

Throughout the annus horribilis that has been 2017, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has published cutting-edge, fact-driven analyses on the multiple risks that threaten the world. But the Bulletin’s mission has also taken Bulletin board members, writers, and senior staff across the country, around the world, and far outside the pages of this publication.

Here are articles and videos from around the World Wide Web that featured Bulletin expertise in 2017. If you missed them when they published, take a look now.

Destroyer of Worlds: Taking stock of our nuclear present

By Rachel Bronson, Mohammed Hanif, Lydia Millet, Elaine Scarry, Eric Schlosser, Theodore Postol, Alex Wellerstein

The Bulletin’s president and CEO, Rachel Bronson, joins six other distinguished writers and experts in the January 2018 issue of Harper’s Magazine to call attention to the Bomb’s ever-present menace.

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

By Elizabeth Kolbert

Science and Security Board member Elizabeth Kolbert is best known for her work as a staff writer for The New Yorker, including a three-part series on global warming that won the 2006 National Magazine Award for Public Interest. She is also a best-selling author of several books, including “The Sixth Extinction,” for which she won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. Her most recent New Yorker piece examines the literature on a question that is frustratingly familiar in this age of opinionated ignorance: Why is factual information so useless in the battle for hearts and minds, not to mention good policy?

Commentary: Can Congress stop a president waging nuclear war?

By John Mecklin

Bulletin editor-in-chief John Mecklin examined the recent, feverish attempts to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to launch a nuclear attack. As Mecklin writes: “[C]oncern about Trump’s authority to launch an unwarranted first-strike nuclear attack is one thing; circumscribing that authority is quite another.” This op/ed deftly takes readers through the constitutional issues that arise when attempting to limit a president’s authority, given his or her obligation to protect the US from foreign threats.

How to Get Rid of Nuclear Weapons

By Sharon Squassoni

A brand-new partnership with TeenVogue enabled the Bulletin to deliver much-needed information to an audience eager to make sense of the world. Science and Security Board member Sharon Squassoni wrote a primer on nuclear weapons theory and the UN ban, and what else needs to change to rid the world of nukes.

The military approach to climate

By David Titley

When do you prepare for a challenge? Before it hits you, climate scientist, retired Navy officer, and Bulletin Science and Security Board member David Titley says in this TED talk. We’ve posted the video on the Bulletin website for easy access.

Rocket men: How Trump is increasing the risk of nuclear war

By Jon Wolfsthal

Science and Security Board member Jon Wolfsthal wrote a sobering opinion piece for New Republic, describing how the United States has historically responded with measured calm when international tensions and bombast arise. Goodbye to all that: Wolfsthal goes on to elucidate how the current US administration has exacerbated global tensions and dangers.


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