The infamous “Doomsday Clock” is sitting firm at five minutes to midnight for 2013. A symbol of the threat of humanity’s imminent destruction, the Doomsday clock would theoretically strike twelve when the world is going to end. Only a figurative clock, the scientists who control it are still making many people nervous with only “5 minutes” to live.
Started in 1947, the Doomsday Clock originated as a way for atomic scientists to warn the world of the dangers of nuclear weapons. In its first year, the Doomsday Clock was set to seven minutes to midnight. The thought was that if the clock ever reached midnight, it would be the end of humanity. By 1949 the clocked had ticked its way to three minutes to midnight because of the United States rocky relationship with the Soviet Union. When the first hydrogen bomb test took place in 1953, the Doomsday Clock moved another minute closer to midnight.
Things started to look up for the world after that. In 1991, when the Cold War ended, the Doomsday Clock was the farthest from midnight it had ever been, reading 11:43 PM. However, since then, the clock just keeps ticking toward imminent destruction. Now the clock reflects the threat of nuclear or biological weapons, climate change, and other human-caused disasters. With the clock ticking closer to midnight, it might fuel the doomsday prepper trend, or at least get the show on the National Geographic Channel a few more views.
2013 opened up with the clock reading 5 minutes until midnight, highly in part to 2012 being the hottest year on record for the United States. A year filled with devastating drought and brutal storms, 2012 entered with a time of six minutes to midnight. The Doomsday Clock has been idle at five minutes to midnight for some time now. Since 2007, the clock has not changed except for 2010 and 2011, when the clock moved back to six minutes to midnight.
The clock was set back one minute when Obama was elected in office and the scientists who control the clock are optimistic that Obama will be able to wind the clock back once again. With strides in the country moving toward a more rational energy path, there is still hope.