Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Five more minutes to go

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have had a big task set before them for the last 60 years, and they have once again stood up to that task. Their job? To set the hands on the Doomsday Clock, originally set in 1945 at seven minutes to midnight, to symbolize just how far away from a potential armageddon-type catastrophe the world really is.

And here, in 2007, the scientists have done just that, by moving the clock forward to five minutes to midnight, in response to growing nuclear concerns from Iran and North Korea, and the state of the environment. This was the first change to the clock in five years, and the eighteenth change overall, with times ranging from as close as two minutes away in 1953 to seventeen minutes away in 1991. By changing the time left on the clock, the scientists hope to draw attention to the global environment that is leading them to believe that our time on this planet is drawing ever closer to an end.

Unfortunately, people in positions of power worldwide have shown an overall disregard for the findings of respected scientists, especially when catastrophic events are being predicted. After all, look at all of the attempts to reverse global warming, or to establish diplomatic relations with other nations holding the capability for nuclear weaponry. What this all means, at least for the bulletin, is that the Doomsday Clock may be getting inched closer and closer to midnight over the next few years.

The one thing we can look forward to is that, with our society's joy at seeing and/or hearing a countdown, if we reach one minute to midnight, there may just be a live broadcast, complete with bands, Ryan Seacrest, and corporate sponsorship. And hey, if we can just get Tara Reid to do the actual counting for us, the world may never come to an end.

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