Doomsday clock's inexorable tick tocks forward and/or back
Readers of a nervous or terminally-stupid disposition might like to note that we're officially a minute closer to death, destruction, general unpleasantness and yet more re-runs of Seinfeld than we were, err, thirty years ago.
Or possibly not. You can watch the whole thing unfold in painful slo-mo here although it won't be live, because, due to the complexities of space/time, I can't tell you what the change is until they've finally got round to making the announcement before I file the story.
And what these boffins are doing right now is droning on at CONSIDERABLE LENGTH before getting to the point of whether we're ticking forward or tocking back.
STOP PRESS: We're now six minutes to midnight, a whole minute closer than we were back in 1980, so nothing to worry about here. One minute in 30 years sounds cool to me.
The CLOCK OF DOOM in New York shows how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction, or the arrival of the Midnite Vultures as pop crooner Beck might have it.
As everything ticks down to the Armageddon sick and tired of all this paranoid crap idiots keep spouting as this nicens moocow comes down along the road, as James Joyce once almost said.
The CROCK OF S***, sorry, DOOM, was created by US Atomic Scientists in 1947 - two years after the US dropped the first atomic bombs during World War II - setting it at seven minutes to midnight. Setting it at three hours past midnight, as Johnny Guitar Watson might well have done, would have rendered the whole exercise rather pointless, unless it was set for the day before.
Those of a more optimistic nature might have set it for a year, or possibly a thousand, in the past to give us a tad more time before we bite the big one.
Since 1947, the clock, which despite all the megabrains behind it doesn't actually work and has to be moved by hand by Professor Stephen Hawking and 18 other Nobel laureates, has been changed 18 times. Presumably if they moved it down to the ground floor, Hawking might find it easier to change.
The DOOMSDAY CROCK was set to two minutes to midnight in 1953 as the Cold War escalated. In 2007 it was wound back to five minutes to midnight, to reflect the failure to stop the proliferation of nukes.
In the halcyon days of 1991 we moved back to 17 minutes to midnight after the US and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The CROCK'S chief horologist said “Factors influencing the latest Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.”
Of course, nothing gets any publicity these days unless it mentions climate change and the evils of TG Daily writers burning logs and driving gas guzzlers at reprehensible velocities.
Those boffins are still droning on as I write and no doubt still will be when you read this in seven days' time.