Doomsday Clock Advances Two Minutes

Via USA Today:

Citing unchecked climate change and the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons, scientists Thursday moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. “It is now three minutes to midnight,” said Kennette Benedict, the executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at a news conference in Washington, D.C. “The probability of global catastrophe is very high. This is about the end of civilization as we know it.” Three minutes is the closest to midnight the clock has been since 1984 during the Cold War. The closest it has ever been to midnight — two minutes— was in 1953, when the hydrogen bomb was first tested. The closer to a setting of midnight it gets, the closer it’s estimated that a global disaster will occur. “In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said in a statement.

Back when I was in middle school, my history teacher had us construct a paper Doomsday Clock which was posted to the bulletin board and referred to often in the months following the Yom Kippur War, which the teacher convinced us was the start of it all. The inevitability of nuclear armageddon was further drilled into our nightmares via showings of Fail-Safe and Panic In The Year Zero. And to bring the doomsday specter very close to home, several weeks of ninth grade were devoted to out-loud readings of chapters from the Orlando area-based nuclear war novel Alas, Babylon. Those readings were done by the American literature teacher and viewed over the school’s closed-circuit television system in multiple classrooms. Not incidentally, she was married to the history teacher.