How close is the Doomsday Clock to midnight?
The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock devoted to showing us how near we are to the end of the world by trying to predict when doomsday will happen. When it was first invented, it focused on how close we were to an atomic war.
It was developed in 1947 with a time of seven minutes to midnight by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists who continues to update and watch it. It is a theoretical representation of the length of time we now have remaining until our world collapses because of a nuclear disaster.
The Doomsday Clock is easily one of the most powerful symbols of the Cold War era. The clock was designed originally to focus on the danger of an atomic war. The very first time the doomsday clock was changed was in 1949 when the former U.S.S.R. tested their first atomic bomb which started a long arms race. The closest the Doomsday Clock has ever gotten to midnight was two minutes, when the United States successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb in 1953.
Among the list of events that affected the Doomsday Clock, there was one event that did not affect it, that was the Cuban Missile Crisis which happened in the year of 1962. When the Cuban Missile Crisis was happening, it happened at such a rapid pace the scientists did not have enough time to change the clock, so it could not be updated. If the scientists would have updated the clock, it would have been set to maybe one minute to midnight.
By the late 1990's after the Cold War ended, it was as much as 17 minutes away from midnight. Even though the Cold War is now over, the timekeepers of the clock still insist that the entire world continues to teeter on the brink of destruction.
Lately, however, terrorism and global warming have factored into the end of the world scenarios. In the year of 2007, the doomsday clock started to include things like climate change as being a factor.
The last time the Doomsday clock was changed was on January 10 2012 and it presently stands at five minutes to midnight. The doomsday clock is currently being adjusted yearly assuming that no short-term catastrophic event occurs.Credit: Cristian V.
Even though the nuclear danger has not yet vanished, today the clock is being used to show the danger levels from other doomsday threats. One such threat that has been added to the list of possible doomsday scenarios that the clock now looks at is yet another man-made threat to the world which happens to be climate changing pollution levels.
One of many issues with including climate change on the clock is that it never was designed to represent things such as global warming. The doomsday clock really should have absolutely nothing with regards to climate change since it was designed to be a nuclear war clock.
The day of December 21, 2012 has grown to be one of the more popular days because of some predictions that the world will end on this date. All of these predictions about December 21 originated from the Mayan civilization, in particular their now famous calendar that predicts the world would end in 2012. The Doomsday clock would appear to reveal the Mayan doomsday of December 21, 2012 is in however completely wrong.
The doomsday clock is a fascinating and controversial relic from the cold war. Some people claim that it is outdated and the project needs to be stopped, while others claim that the project has lost its focus by factoring in other possible non nuclear events.
One thing is for sure, the project isn't going to end anytime soon. As long as the scientists are around to keep changing the time on the clock, the project will never stop. This leads me to an interesting question; if a nuclear war did happen, would anybody be left to change the clock to midnight?