In case you are not familiar with that headline timepiece, it is a symbolic clock that was created in 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. 

It is intended to suggest how much time is left before the world is engulfed in a nuclear Armageddon – and the human race is thrust back into the Ice Age if we survive at all.  Midnight is the moment of the atomic holocaust.

Periodically, the folks at the Bulletin adjust the time to indicate how close the disaster is to reality – in their opinion, of course.   The clock has been set – or should I say, re-set – 25 times in the past 76 years.  The furthest from Midnight was 17 minutes in 1991.  The Doomsday Clock is not like any other clock, however.  In the tradition of Einsteinian time warping, the Clock can go backward – and it has done so in 8 of its 25 time changes.

On January 24th of this year, the Scientists put the Clock at 90 seconds to Midnight.  The bad news is that the reset is the closest to a nuclear disaster that the Clock has ever been in its history.   That is closer than all years of the Cold War – when school kids were doing “duck and cover” drills.  Closer than at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Closer than all those other wars in the Middle East.  Closer than the war in Afghanistan.

According to Rachel Bronson, president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality.” 


I am laughing.  That “Clock” has been wrong for 76 years no matter how close to Midnight it is arbitrarily set.  The Clock is a public relations gimmick for the radical left scientists who publish the Bulletin.  Like a Draconian Brigadoon, they rise from obscurity to reset the Clock and quickly return to the anonymity they so richly deserve.

There is a bit of nuance in the latest ominous prediction of global catastrophe.  They apparently have incorporated climate change and international politics as part of their odious brew of pending calamity upon which they base their ominous fortune telling.

I have long given the Doomsday Clock the same level of serious consideration as I do the horoscopes published daily in newspapers and those fortune cookies found in every Chinese restaurant.  The folks at the Bulletin remind me of the robed preacher on the street corner carrying a sign that the world is coming to an end.  At least he is right in the long run.  The Clock has never been right – and may never be right.

Now that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has placed Armageddon just 90 seconds away – symbolically speaking – I still feel no sense of heightened dread.  If it was my Clock, I would set it for around six in the morning to start a new day – about the time I set my real clock.  

Keep in mind that the Doomsday Clock does not represent any REAL peril of pending doom.  It is just a gimmick.  I have to admit, however, that the Clock is a great publicity stunt.  It gets a lot of publicity every time the Scientists move the big hand.  Other than that, it is a broken Clock.

So, there ‘tis.