Today At 1 P.M. The Cold War ‘Doomsday Clock’ May Be Moved Closer To Midnight
Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience
Jan. 10, 2011
Humanity will soon be getting an update on how close we are to catastrophic destruction, as scientists and security experts decide whether to nudge the hands of the famous “Doomsday Clock” forward toward midnight — and doom — or back toward security and safety.
The clock, in use as a symbol of imminent apocalypse since 1947, now stands at six minutes to midnight. Later today at 1 p.m., the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) will announce whether they will nudge the minute hand forward or backward to reflect current trends in world security. The last time the clock hand moved was in 2010, when the group moved the hand from five minutes to midnight back to six.
In making the decision, the Bulletin considers the current state of nuclear weapons, climate change and biosecurity, along with other issues that could influence humanity’s survival. The closest the clock has been to midnight has been 11:57 p.m., set in 1984 when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were in a diplomatic stand-off and tensions were high. The farthest humanity has ever been from destruction, according to the clock, was in 1991, when the Doomsday Clock stood at 17 minutes to midnight. That year, the Cold War over, the U.S. and Russia began cutting their arsenals.