Set your watches, apocalypse watchers: On Thursday, the Doomsday Clock—that harbinger of untimely death run by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—will change again.
When the organization debuted its clock in 1947 in the wake of the new dangers of the nuclear age, they set it at “7 minutes to midnight.” From there, the scientists have adjusted the metaphorical apocalypse countdown either up or down in response to geopolitics. The furthest we’ve ever been from our collective end is 12 minutes, after the signings of SALT and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 1979 17 minutes, after the end of the Cold War. The closest we’ve gotten is 2 minutes (the namesake of the Iron Maiden song), in response to hydrogen bomb tests.
What now? From Politico:
“The last time the doomsday clock was reset was in 2007, from 7 minutes to five minutes to midnight.
(Director Kennette) Benedict said she would offer no hints about whether the clock would be reset closer or further away from “doomsday” on Thursday. One suspects the group of scientists would be likely to show some appreciation for Barack Obama’s efforts on nonproliferation, climate change, etc. compared to his predecessor.”
This will be the first time you can watch live streaming of the Doomsday clock change, which happens at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday here in New York. I, for one, will not be watching, since we all know the world’s actually going to end in 2012 because of some Central American prophecy.
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Image: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists