The Doomsday Clock Is Kind Of Stupid

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The group behind the “Doomsday Clock” moved it 30 seconds closer to midnight based, in part, on the perceived risk President Donald Trump poses to world order.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists say the clock striking midnight symbolizes the end of the world. Its current position, two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, is the closest it’s been do “doomsday” since 1953, when the U.S. and the Soviet Union conducted hydrogen bomb tests.

The Doomsday Clock was only at seven minutes-to-midnight during Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists want people to know “what a dangerous moment we’re in, and how important it is for people to take note,” Rachel Bronson, the executive director and publisher of The Bulletin, told The New York Times.

“We’re so concerned about the rhetoric, and the lack of respect for expertise, that we moved it 30 seconds,” she said. “Rather than create panic, we’re hoping that this drives action.”

It should be remembered, however, the Doomsday Clock is a subjective metric. It’s not attached to any physical reality, and scientists set it to whatever time they feel fits the moments. That means political and ideological biases can get bring the clock closer of further from midnight.

Initially, the clock was set to predict the likelihood of nuclear war, but recently The Bulletin has added numerous other potential extinction-level events to the clock. In January of 2015, the doomsday clock was set at three minutes to midnight, largely due to concern about global warming.

The Bulletin has even held Doomsday Clock Symposiums to explore potential new disasters.

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