Countdown to Midnight – The Doomsday Clock

Ever since 1947, a clock has been counting down the minutes until the end to humans. It is certainly one of the most unique clocks around. Although the Doomsday Clock isn’t actually a functionally working clock, it is a real measuring device and is watched by many people waiting for its infrequent movements.

The Doomsday Clock is the creation of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and its purpose is to provide a measure of the vulnerability of humans from various threats. These threats, according to the Bulletin mentioned above, are mainly the nuclear weapons in the world, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences. Although the latter two threats are frequently talked about in the media, it is the first threat, nuclear weapons, that has caused the Doomsday Clock to move the most in the past.

How the Clock Works

Basically, the Bulletin’s board of directors meets periodically to discuss the various threats to the world. They consider the nuclear developments and ambitions of countries around the world, and decide to move toward or away from midnight. Since its creation in 1947, the clock has been moved eighteen times, with the last movement occurring in 2007. In the sixty-two years of its existence, the clock has moved back and forth, but is now only two minutes away from when it started.

Over the years, the clock moved back and forth, with 2 minutes to midnight the most dangerous time (during the height of the cold war), and 17 minutes away the safest (the fall of the Berlin Wall, and an arms reduction treaty between the USA and the USSR). The last time the clock moved however, from seven minutes to five minutes, a different threat entered into the equation. This time, the effects of climate change contributed to its movement, which was from 7 minutes to 5.

Although climate change is gaining momentum as a serious threat to mankind, it still does not really compare to nuclear weapons. A large part of the reason for the tick-down to 11:55 was nuclear activity by North Korea and Iran. There are over 27,000 nuclear weapons in the world at the time of this writing, and of these, 2,000 of them can be launched within minutes. Obviously, this threat is more ominous than that of an earth-destroying force of nature. This is one clock that people should keep a closer eye on. In fact, most people have never even heard of it. Five minutes to the end of time seems precariously close, and definitely warrants close attention.

Source by Chad Damon

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