DOOMSADY CLOCK SET TO MOVE – OH, MY
Posted by Andrew Roman on January 13, 2010
Here’s a phrase I haven’t heard in a long time: Doomsday Clock.
Next to chia pets, seasons nine through twenty-one of The Simpsons, anything with Leonardo Dicaprio in it, and purple white-out, there is hardly anything more pointless to human existence than the Doomsday Clock. (Maybe Keith Olbermann).
Talk about a blast from the unwanted past.
I honestly haven’t thought about the Doomsday Clock for years. I had no idea it still existed.
When I read this story, it was like coming across a gas station with leaded gas, or discovering that my Crazy Uncle Hank with the bad breath and perpetually unzipped fly was still alive even though I thought he was crushed by a backhoe in 1986.
My impression was that attention on the Doomsday Clock long ago went the way of solid state televisions and metal Snack-Pack cans. The fact that anyone – even the most hysterical among us – would place any stock in, let alone care about, such a ridiculous, Chicken-little contraption is beyond pathetic. Even back in the day, when Ronald Reagan was supposed to lead all of humanity into a nuclear winter, I felt the whole concept of a Doomsday Clock was too stupid for words.
However, it not only still exists, it’s about to make a move.
The world waits.
From the Mail Online:
The minute hand of the famous Doomsday Clock will be moved at 3pm tomorrow afternoon, for the first time in two years. The timepiece in New York conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction, which is represented by midnight.
It was created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, two years after the U.S dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan in World War II. It was originally set at seven minutes to midnight. The clock has been altered 18 times since then by the Bulletin’s scientific board. This now includes Professor Stephen Hawking and 18 other Nobel laureates. The latest recorded time was two minutes to midnight in 1953 as the Cold War heated up between the U.S and Soviet Union.
In 2007 it was wound on to five minutes to midnight, to reflect the failure to solve problems posed by nuclear weapons.
Today the public can watch the change for the first time via a live web feed. A spokesman said: ‘Factors influencing the latest Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.
Just last month environmentalists criticised the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, after leaders failed to reach any real consensus.
I can’t help but ponder … if the hands actually do strike midnight – which means “catastrophic destruction” – does that mean that the destruction has already happened, or that it is imminent?
If it’s already happened, then who would be there to actually turn the hands? And who would be paying attention at that point anyway? And if it’s imminent, what can humanity do about it anyway? After all, we’re talking catastrophic destruction here.
The way I see it … the expansion of civilian nuclear power is a good thing; and with global temperatures falling, which will, in turn, afford polar bears more breakaway blocks of ice to sit on, that ought to set the Doomsday Clock to more like 10:30 or so, wouldn’t you think? And what about President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize? The clock ought to read supper time after that one.
Incidentally, nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists are always a major concern and something to be taken very seriously. The only reason they would be more of a threat today than, say, a couple of years ago, is that the President of the United States is less interested in fighting the enemy and more focused on trying to make nice-nice with very bad people. In that respect, a few more years with Barack Obama at the helm could push the hands of the clock to a quarter past twelve.