Level Nine Sports, where families ski and ride...

 advertise with indeep media

Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight

Posted: January 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cankler Science News, Kiss My . . ., Science News, University of Chicago | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight

Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to MidnightThe Doomsday clock ( Wiki Below) has ticked another minute closer to midnight on the back of global uncertainty on how to deal with the threats of nuclear weapons and climate change.

“It is now five minutes to midnight,” said Allison Macfarlane, chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS), which created the clock in 1947 as a barometer of how close the world is to an apocalyptic end.

The last decision by the group, which includes a host of Nobel Prize-winning scientists, moved the clock a minute further away from midnight in 2010 on hopes of global nuclear cooperation and the election of US president Barack Obama. However, the latest decision pushes the clock back to the time it was at in 2007.

Increasing nuclear tensions, refusal to engage in global action on climate change, and a growing tendency to reject science when it comes to major world concerns were cited as key reasons for the latest tick on the clock.

“It is clear the change that appeared to be happening at the time is not happening, not materialising,” co-chair Lawrence Krauss said. “Faced today with the clear and present dangers of nuclear proliferation, climate change, and the continued challenge to find new and sustainable and safe sources of energy, business as usual reigns the norm among world leaders.”

Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight - Newsfeed Time Magazine

The clock reached its most perilous point in 1953, at two minutes to midnight, after the United States and the Soviet Union tested thermonuclear devices within nine months of one another. It was a far-flung 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 after the two signed the long-stalled Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and announced further unilateral cuts in tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

Robert Socolow, a member of the BAS science and security board and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, said a common theme emerged in the scientists’ talks this year. He cited a “worrisome trend, notably in the US but in many other countries, to reject or diminish the significance of what science says is the characteristic of a problem”.

But the group said it was heartened by a series of world protest movements – including the Arab spring, the global Occupy demonstrations and protests in Russia – which show people are seeking a greater say in their future. With plenty of uncertainty in the nuclear realm, even a renewed START deal between Russia and the US has not achieved the progress scientists would like, BAS board member Jayantha Dhanapala said.

“At a time when there are going to be elections in the US, in Russia, in France, and a change of leadership in China, there is some uncertainty therefore about the nuclear weapons programs of these countries and the policies the new leadership will follow,” said Dr Dhanapala, a former UN under-secretary general for disarmament affairs. “The world still has approximately over 20,000 deployed nuclear weapons with enough power to destroy the world’s inhabitants several times over.”


The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face, maintained since 1947 by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago. The closer the clock is to midnight, the closer the world is estimated to be to global disaster. The most recent officially-announced setting — five minutes to midnight (11:55pm) — was made on 10 January 2012. Reflecting international events dangerous to humankind, the clock’s hands have been adjusted twenty times since its inception in 1947, when the clock was initially set to seven minutes to midnight (11:53pm).

Originally, the clock analogy represented the threat of global nuclear war; however, since 2007 it has also reflected climate-changing technologies and “new developments in the life sciences that could inflict irrevocable harm.”

Cover of the 1947 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists issue that first featured the Doomsday Clock at seven minutes to midnight. Since its inception, the clock has been depicted on every cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Its first representation was in 1947, when magazine co-founder Hyman Goldsmith asked artist Martyl Langsdorf (wife of Manhattan Project research associate and Szilárd petition signatory Alexander Langsdorf, Jr.) to design a cover for the magazine’s June 1947 issue.

In 1947, during the Cold War, the clock was started at seven minutes to midnight and was subsequently advanced or rewound per the state of the world and nuclear war prospects. The clock’s setting is decided by the directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and is an adjunct to the essays in the bulletin on global affairs. The clock has not always been set and reset as quickly as events occur; the closest nuclear war threat, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, reached crisis, climax, and resolution before it could be set to reflect that possible doomsday.

Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight - Graph

Graph (above) showing the changes in the time of the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Numbers in left column refer to the “minutes to midnight” (nuclear war) as the values of the clock are usually expressed. At right column are the raw times. The little mushroom cloud is meant to remove any ambiguity about which direction is more positive.

Time Changes

Mins Left
1947 7 11:53pm  — The initial setting of the Doomsday Clock.
1949 3 11:57pm +4 The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb, officially starting the nuclear arms race.
1953 2 11:58pm +1 The United States and the Soviet Union test thermonuclear devices within nine months of one another. (This is the clock’s closest approach to midnight since its inception.)
1960 7 11:53pm -5 In response to a perception of increased scientific cooperation and public understanding of the dangers of nuclear weapons, as well political actions taken to avoid “massive retaliation.” The United States and Soviet Union cooperate and avoid direct confrontation in regional conflicts such as the 1956 Suez Crisis. Scientists from different countries help establish the International Geophysical Year, a series of coordinated, worldwide scientific observations between nations allied with both the United States and the Soviet Union, and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which allow Soviet and American scientists to interact.
1963 12 11:48pm -5 The United States and Soviet Union sign the Partial Test Ban Treaty, limiting atmospheric nuclear testing.
1968 7 11:53pm +5 Vietnam War intensifies. Six Day War occurs in 1967. Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 takes place. Worse yet, France and China acquire and test nuclear weapons (1960 (Gerboise Bleue nuclear test) and 1964 (596 nuclear test) respectively).
1969 10 11:50pm -3 The U.S. Senate ratifies the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
1972 12 11:48pm -2 The United States and the Soviet Union sign the SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
1974 9 11:51pm +3 India tests a nuclear device (Smiling Buddha), SALT II talks stall. Both the United States and the Soviet Union modernize MIRVs
1980 7 11:53pm +2 Further deadlock in US-Soviet Union talks. In protest to the Soviet-Afghan War, President Carter pulls the United States from the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and considers ways in which US can win nuclear war.
1981 4 11:56pm +3 Soviet-Afghan War hardens the US nuclear posture. Ronald Reagan becomes president, scraps further arms control talks with the Soviet Union and argues that the only way to end the Cold War is to win it.
1984 3 11:57pm +1 Further escalation of the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
1988 6 11:54pm -3 The U.S. and the Soviet Union sign treaty to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear forces, relations improve.
1990 10 11:50pm -4 Fall of the Berlin Wall, dissolution of Iron Curtain sealing off Eastern Europe, Cold War nearing an end.
1991 17 11:43pm -7 United States and Soviet Union sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. This is the clock’s earliest setting since its inception.
1995 14 11:46pm +3 Global military spending continues at Cold War levels; concerns about post-Soviet nuclear proliferation of weapons and brainpower.
1998 9 11:51pm +5 Both India (Pokhran-II) and Pakistan (Chagai-I) test nuclear weapons in a tit-for-tat show of aggression; the United States and Russia run into difficulties in further reducing stockpiles.
2002 7 11:53pm +2 Little progress on global nuclear disarmament; United States rejects a series of arms control treaties and announces its intentions to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; concerns about the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack due to the amount of weapon-grade nuclear materials that are unsecured and unaccounted for worldwide.
2007 5 11:55pm +2 North Korea’s test of a nuclear weapon, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a renewed U.S. emphasis on the military utility of nuclear weapons, the failure to adequately secure nuclear materials, and the continued presence of some 26,000 nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia. Some scientists, assessing the dangers posed to civilization, have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind.
2010 6 11:54pm -1 Worldwide cooperation to reduce nuclear arsenals and limit effect of climate change.
2012 5 11:55pm +1 Lack of global political action to address nuclear weapons stockpiles, the potential for regional nuclear conflict, nuclear power safety, and global climate change.

In Popular Culture

Alan Moore’s groundbreaking 1985 graphic novel Watchmen makes extensive use of the image of the Doomsday Clock. There are numerous overt as well as veiled references to it, mainly through the repeated use of clock faces showing times close to midnight figuring in the background of many panels throughout the book. The Doomsday Clock is used as a backdrop to the plot, which gradually leads the reader into believing that a major cataclysm, or even armageddon, is looming. The novel itself is made up of twelve chapters with a clock face gradually approaching midnight printed on the back cover of each chapter (or, in the compilation edition, as the last page of each chapter). This clock face starts at 11 minutes to midnight at chapter one and advances by one minute with each new chapter, along with a pool of blood gradually descending towards it. Another major symbol in the novel is the smiley face, which appears mainly as a badge worn by one of the central characters (The Comedian); the book begins with The Comedian’s death, with a drop of his blood having fallen on the badge in the form of a minute hand pointing to several minutes before midnight. The idea of clocks and time (especially the idea of time running out) recurs throughout the novel, with the many-layered title itself (“Watchmen”) partly being a reference to this. The drop of The Comedian’s blood on the smiley face badge is in the form of an arrow – the outline of this arrow, similarly set at a “several-minutes-to-midnight” position, also appears either overtly or subliminally throughout the story.

See Also Wikipedia:


Related in Wikipedia:

General :
Metaphysical : -
Sociological : -
Biological :
Physical :

Doomsday Clock (song)

Writer – Billy Corgan | 2007 | Reprise Records | Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist

“Doomsday Clock” is a song by Smashing Pumpkins, and is the opening track on their album Zeitgeist. Reminiscent of the opening tracks of Gish and Siamese Dream, it starts off with a brief, energetic drum solo. Although not released as a single, the song charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Pop 100, due to digital sales.

It was released on iTunes for immediate download along with the pre-order for the album on June 19, 2007.

It is also included on the soundtrack for the 2007 Transformers movie. The song appears twice in the film: once as an instrumental-only version during a climactic action sequence, and the second time as a song over the closing credits.

The song’s original arrangement was described by Jimmy Chamberlin as “folk/calypso” and was eventually slowed down and made much heavier for the recorded version.

In early 2008, “Doomsday Clock” was licensed to the professional wrestling outfit Ring of Honor for use as the theme song of the taped pay-per-view, ROH Undeniable. It was also used in a trailer for The Incredible Hulk. It is also now used in Monster Jam as the theme song for a truck called Wrecking Crew.


Is everyone afraid?
Is everyone ashamed?
Their running torwards their holes to find out
Apocalyptic means
Are lost amongst our dead
A message to our friends, to get out
There’s wagers on this fear
Ooh, ooh so clear
Depends on what you’ll pay to hear

They’re bound to kill us all
In white-washed halls
The jackals lick their paws

Please don’t stop
It’s lonely at the top
These lonely days
Will they ever stop?
This doomsday clock
Tickin’ in my heart, not broken

I love life everyday, each and every way
Khafka would be proud to find out
I’m certain of the end, it’s the means that has me spooked
It takes an unknown truth to get out
I guess that I’m born free, silly me
I was meant to beg from my knees

Please don’t stop
It’s lonely at the top
These lonely days
Will they ever stop?
This doomsday clock
Tickin’ in my heart
These lonely days, will they ever stop?

Gotta dig in
Gasmasks on
Wait in the sunshine overhead
If this is living, sakes alive
Well then we can’t win, no one survives

Is everyone afraid?
You should be ashamed
Apocalyptic screams mean nothing to the dead
Kiss your little son to know all there is
C’mon, last call!
You should want it all!

It’s lonely at the top
These lonely days, will they ever stop
This doomsday clock
These lonely days, will they ever stop
It’s tickin’ in my heart
Is everyone afraid?

Smashing Pumpkins:

Billy Corgan – Mike Byrne – Nicole Fiorentino – Jeff Schroeder

Comments are closed.