Those who keep track of these things say the world is closer to apocalypse than most people know.

The Doomsday Clock, a figurative timepiece used as a barometer of humankind’s fate, was moved one minute closer to midnight on Tuesday, the first time it has been nudged forward since 2007.

It is now 11:55, five minutes before Doomsday.


The re-setting of the Doomsday Clock has become something of a publicity gimmick in recent years.  It was created in 1947 by a group that calls itself the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to raise awareness about the perils of nuclear weapons.  Today the bulletins include threats such as climate change and biological weaponry.

In moving the clock ahead Tuesday, the group cites the failure of world leaders to achieve significant progress on the reduction of nuclear weapons and in developing a comprehensive response to climate change.

A spokesman for the group says there has been some good news over the past year. They say they were heartened by the socalled Arab Spring, the Occupy movements and political protest in Russia.

They say those developments show that people are waking up, and want to have a say in their future.

via Doomsday Clock ticks closer to midnight - Checkpoint Washington - The Washington Post.

Since its inception the Doomsday Clock has been reset 20 times. It came closest to doomsday in 1953, when the start of the nuclear arms race pushed its hand to two minutes to midnight.

It moved the farthest away in 1991, when the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by the United States and the Soviet Union gave the world 17 minutes until midnight.

There are those who regard these scientists as a flock of "Chicken Littles".  That name is inspired by the children's story of the chicken who was hit on the head by a falling acorn, and who ran around telling everyone the sky was falling.

That story is one of many similar folktales that make light of paranoia and mass hysteria.