North Korea and the Doomsday Clock

There was a time, back during the Cold War, when many people were very concerned that the planet on which we lived was about to be incinerated by a nuclear war. In fact, concerns were so strong, that a Doomsday Clock at the University of Chicago regularly displayed just how close we were to nuclear Armageddon.

The idea of the Doomsday Clock was simple; midnight symbolized the end. As Soviet/American relations ebbed and flowed, the big hand inched closer or further away from midnight. Since 1947 when the clock was inaugurated at 11:53, that big hand has moved 17 times (once sitting at 11:58 when both the Soviet Union and the USA tested hydrogen bombs in 1958).

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the Doomsday Clock lost some of its allure and hasn’t moved since 2002 when it was pushed forward to 11:53 after the “United States rejects a series of arms control treaties and announces it will withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty…. And Terrorists seek to acquire and use nuclear and biological weapons.”

But now there is North Korea.

Suddenly everyone is talking about the Doomsday Clock and whether the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who oversee the clock will move that big hand closer to midnight as a result of North Korea’s recent nuclear testing. The Clock guardians meet next month at a regularly scheduled meeting and will assess the situation and determine if the clock needs adjusting.

In the meantime, make sure to see as much of the world as you can; who knows what it will look like during a nuclear winter.