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Marching Toward Doomsday


This Wednesday, the world will officially creep closer to nuclear apocalypse, according to the Doomsday Clock maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The symbolic Doomsday Clock counts down the minutes to midnight, which represents the moment of global disaster. The Clock is currently set at seven minutes to midnight and will, presumably, move forward on Wednesday.

“The major new step reflects growing concerns about a ‘Second Nuclear Age’ marked by grave threats, including: nuclear ambitions in Iran and North Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere, the continuing ‘launch-ready’ status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the U.S. and Russia, escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks,” says a Bulletin press release.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists worried about nuclear weaponry and war. Two years later, the Bulletin created the Clock. Its hands have moved 17 times since then, most recently in 2002, when they moved two minutes closer to midnight. The Clock has been set as late as two minutes to midnight–in 1953 after the U.S. and the Soviet Union conducted hydrogen bomb tests.

The decision to move the hands of the Clock this week was made by the Bulletin‘s boards of directors and sponsors, a group that includes 18 Nobel Laureates. But why does it seem unlikely that the consensus of a group of scientists—even Nobel-prize winning ones—will have much of an impact on U.S. nuclear policy? (Hint: see President George W. Bush’s positions on global warming, air pollution, and sex education, for starters.) And given that worries about a nuclear Iran and North Korea are poised to escalate, the Bulletin better leave itself some room to keep moving that minute hand forward.

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  1. #1 Mike
    January 15, 2007

    I have an antique cabinet, which was constructed in 1947. I consider the amount of fluff behind it to be an equal indicator of the apocalypse, which is to say not at all.

  2. #2 nostradamus 2012
    September 1, 2007

    This doesn’t look good at all. We are closer to the end. Visit our site about prediction of nuclear apocalypse in year 2012.