If the rampant news of walls being built, climate-change deniers in office, and tweets related to the “nuclear option” has you feeling like the end is neigh, you are not alone. The scientists behind the Doomsday Clock, a symbol of our approaching apocalypse (indicated on the clock as midnight), just moved it 30 seconds closer to the end of days.
Not to totally freak you out but… leading scientists—including 15 Nobel laureates (!!!)—just released a statement called “It is two and a half minutes to midnight.” And here’s some answers to the questions you obviously have right now.
1. What on earth is the Doomsday Clock exactly?
The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock as a way of counting down to global catastrophe. It takes into account international threats to humanity and the planet—and this year is a doozy.
According to the Doomsday Clock—i.e. the most depressing home décor item of all time—we are now the closest we’ve been to Armageddon since 1953, when hydrogen bombs were developed.
It is now at two and a half minutes to midnight, and just like Cinderella, when that clock strikes 12, everything goes to sh*t.
2. OK, but how serious is it really?
While we sit here waiting for President Donald Trump to tweet that this clock is nothing but alarmist hooey (he’ll probs call it a “hoax”), it’s important to note that this prediction is not put together by public opinion.
3. Since there’s literally no time, can you sum up what the latest statement says?
The seven page statement, released yesterday, highlights the number of countries developing nuclear weapons, the climate change outlook, and in particular, the serious concerns regarding Russia’s role in the U.S. election and the intentions of the new U.S. president, that together make “the world more dangerous than was the case a year ago.”
“The board’s decision to move the clock less than a full minute reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days,” says the statement.
The statement—which tbh left many of us wondering if it was too late to sign up for that NASA trip to Mars—continues with its scientists acknowledging that while it’s still v. early in Trump’s term as president, they maintain that there is already serious cause for concern.
“In short, even though he has just now taken office, the president’s intemperate statements, lack of openness to expert advice, and questionable cabinet nominations have already made a bad international security situation worse,” the scientists wrote, adding that recent events are “endangering every person, everywhere on Earth.”
4. When was the last time the minute hand moved?
As the statement says, for the last two years the minute hand has stayed firmly set at three minutes to midnight, which is the closest it’s been since the early ’80s. By moving the hand up 30 seconds yesterday, the statement says that the probability of global catastrophe in 2017 is very high—and, like, we need to start taking action asap.
5. So… what’s the plan now?
It’s still unclear, but the statement leaves us with this not-so-subtle warning: “Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.”
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