Wired UK: Apocalypse, Now?

In its March cover feature on the end of the world, Wired UK wrote about the work the GCRI does—along with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), and the Future of Life Institute (FLI)—to mitigate catastrophic risk. In an article on the 10 biggest threats facing civilization, Wired UK discusses the research GCRI does on the risk that an inadvertent nuclear war could cause a nuclear winter and on systemic risk from climate …

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Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: Trump and Global Catastrophic Risk

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum has a new article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on what Donald Trump’s election means for global catastrophic risk, which has been covered in Quartz and Elite Daily. Baum writes that the fact that Trump will have the authority to launch nuclear weapons should particularly concern us, given his tendency to behave erratically, Trump’s election also has implications for the prospect of conflict with Russia and China, the stability of the global world order, the survival of democracy in the US, and our …

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GCR News Summary August/September 2016

EU Parliament in Strasbourg image courtesy of  David Iliff under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 license

By Matthijs Maas

In the early hours of September 9, North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test, its biggest ever at an estimated 10 kilotons. The test, which was first detected as a magnitude 5.3-earthquake, was condemned by the UN Security Council, as well as leaders from across the world. In a statement, North Korea said it had tested a “nuclear warhead… standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets”. …

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September Newsletter: Media Internship Opportunity

Dear friends,

GCRI is currently recruiting for a volunteer/intern position on media engagement. We aim both to improve the quality of global catastrophic risk media coverage—including coverage of GCRI—and to help someone launch their career. The ideal fit would be a college student or recent graduate who seeks a career in global catastrophic risk in something media-related such as journalism or social science. Details can be found on GCRI’s website. We would be grateful if you would share the announcement with anyone who might be interested or apply …

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GCR News Summary June/July 2016

B-61 nuclear bomb, the same model as stored at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey; Image courtesy of Phil Schmitten / United States Department of Defense

by Matthijs Maas

A failed coup attempt against the Turkish government raised fears over the safety of the US nuclear stockpile stored at Incirlik Air Base after authorities temporarily locked down the base and arrested the base commander for supporting the mutineers’ air operations. Under NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement, Incirlik Air Base plays host to an estimated 50 US B61 hydrogen bombs–over a …

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GCR News Summary May 2016

President Obama and Prime Minister Abe at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial image courtesy of Pete Souza/The White House

President Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, just a little more than one month after Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest ranking US official to visit the city where the US detonated a nuclear weapon at the end of World War II. Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, but did not apologize for the use of nuclear weapons against Japan. …

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GCR News Summary April 2016

Alpha Centauri and Southern Cross image courtesy of Claus Madsen/ESO, CC BY 4.0

John Kerry became the first US Secretary of State to visit the site of the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima. Kerry wrote in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial guest book that the site was “a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all our effort to avoid war itself.” William J. Broad and David E. Sanger wrote in The New York Times …

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GCR News Summary March 2016

Go game image courtesy of Jaro Larnnos under a Creative Commons license

Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo computer program beat 9-dan professional go player Lee Se-dol 4-1 in a five-game match. Lee has won 18 international titles and is widely regarded as one of the best Go players in the world. AlphaGo made a number of decisive moves that the human players found completely surprising and “beautiful”. The South Korean Go Association granted AlphaGo an honorary 9-dan ranking for its “sincere efforts” to master the game at a level approaching …

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GCR News Summary February 2016

Stop Trident demonstration in London image courtesy of David Holt under a Creative Commons license

Tens of thousands of people gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine program. It was the largest anti-nuclear demonstration in England since 1983, when several hundred thousand people demonstrated against the deployment of cruise missiles at Greenham Common. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the protesters they should not forget that a nuclear war would mean “absolute destruction on both sides” and said that he …

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GCR News Summary January 2016

Aedes aegypti mosquito image courtesy of James Gathany/US Centers for Disease Control

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Zika is a virus primarily transmitted by mosquitos that was first identified in rhesus monkeys in Uganda in 1947. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis, although in rare cases it may cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can leave patients completely paralyzed. …

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