Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Midnight Hour

First, a little bit of trivia: The “secret unlock code” on US nuclear missiles during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at OOOOOOOO.

The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face, maintained since 1947 by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), that uses the analogy of the human species being at a time that is "minutes to midnight", wherein midnight represents "catastrophic destruction" by nuclear, environmental, or technological means.

The BAS has turned back the clock one minute, bringing us six minutes to midnight. The BAS announced the adjustment today at a news conference in New York:
"By shifting the hand back from midnight by only one additional minute, we emphasize how much needs to be accomplished, while at the same time recognizing signs of collaboration among the United States, Russia, the European Union, India, China, Brazil, and others on nuclear security and on climate stabilization."
Of course, this doesn't make up for the two minutes closer it moved in 2007, or the two minutes closer it moved in 2002, or the five minutes closer it moved in 1998. In fact, six minutes to midnight really doesn't sound all that reassuring. Tck Tck Tck.

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