I’d like to admit upfront that much of this encapsulates an article in the Washington Post. That said…
Kapow! It feels like a 1954 comic book, because I get to write about a group of people calling themselves “Atomic Scientists.” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group of people who don’t want the world to end, despite their invention of a technology that makes just such a thing possible, have set the Doomsday Clock back by one minute, from 11:55 to 11:54 pm. We are now 6 minutes away from annihilation, instead of 5. But doesn’t it feel like more? I mean, if I have 5 minutes left until a meeting, I don’t think I can get nearly as much done as if I have 6 minutes left.
I can’t help but wonder if this is more of the same irrational exuberance (or maybe call it afterglow) about Bush leaving office that led to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama. But it’s still nice to know that somebody thinks things are getting better.
Of course, there are also many people who really do want the world to end in fire and brimstone, soon, because they assume such an event would validate their theological paradigm, and also because they’d get to go to heaven. As you probably guessed, they aren’t buying the Atomic Scientists’ line that we’ve taken a tiny step back from the brink. Nobody likes to be wrong, do we? On their scorecard, which is much more thorough than a simple clock metaphor, but also much less snappy, we’re 1 point closer to Armageddon (on a 225 pt scale). This is because civil rights have been eroded by attempts to thwart terrorism. I guess if the TSA can see your junk on a x-ray machine, the end is nigh. Strangely, the Large Hadron Collider doesn’t make the RaptureReady list of factors.
Do you have an apocalypse-predictive tool that you prefer to use? Let me know about it in the comments.