Updated below (on January 16, 2009):
I’m never accused of being an optimist (in my defense, I consider myself to be a realist, and it’s not my fault that the nation and the world have gone to shit, and I just call it as I see it), so I dig the whole concept of the “Doomsday Clock.”
On Thursday, (atomic) scientists will adjust the minute hand of the “Doomsday Clock” for the first time since 2007.
The clock, established in 1947 after the United States had become the first nation in the history of the planet to nuke another nation, signifies how close the scientists believe the Earth is to nuclear annihilation. Midnight on the clock, as the clock was conceived, represents this nuclear Armageddon.
In January 2007, the minute hand of the “Doomsday Clock” was pushed from seven minutes to midnight to five minutes before midnight, where it remains now, as I type this sentence.
According to Wikipedia, the earliest time that the clock has shown is 11:43, and the latest time that it has shown is 11:58, which was during the Cold War. At its inception in 1947, the clock was set at 11:53.
On Thursday, the minute hand will move one or more minutes backwards or forwards from its current setting at 11:55.
My prediction: The Doomsday Clock will move to four minutes, maybe even to three minutes, before midnight.
But don’t call me a pessimist.
I’m a fucking realist.
P.S. According to Live Science, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock was moved forward in 2007 not only because of the global threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but also because of the global threat of climate change as well. So midnight on the Doomsday Clock apparently now represents our self-annihilation by whatever means.
Update (January 16, 2009):
It wasn’t a big news item, but on Thursday, citing a “new era of cooperation” and “a change in the U.S. government’s orientation toward international affairs brought about in part by the election of [President Barack] Obama,” scientists pushed the Doomsday Clock back by one minute, so we now stand at 11:54.
Personally, I think that pushing the clock back by even one minute was premature, as was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama.
I mean, presumably the clock was pushed back by a minute in no small part because George W. Bush isn’t in the White House anymore.
Is that enough?
I don’t think so.
The mere absence of an evil doesn’t represent an actual positive achievement.