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Photo: Neil Craigan (Shutterstock) Last week, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that the “Doomsday Clock” will remain set at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest humanity has been to complete annihilation since the clock was created. We haven’t moved the needle since 2020, when it sunk to its current, dismal, less-than-two-minutes-left level. How the Doomsday Clock works The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that illustrates the likelihood of a manmade global catastrophe. It was invented in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Originally set at seven minutes to midnight, the clock has been changed 24 times by the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since its inception. Its high point was in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, when it was set at a reassuring 17 minutes to midnight. Since then, the clock has been edging relentlessly toward catastrophe, to its current “we’re all going to die” rating. But don’t worry about the Doomsday Clock too much. The clock’s measurement has always been arbitrary and its purpose political. What it actually “measures” has diffused so much over the last few decades, it’s hard to see the value in its reading at all. I’m not saying don’t worry about the many potential ends-of-the-world that the clock illustrates. I’m saying the Doomsday Clock itself is not a good way of understanding the likelihood or time-frame of an approaching global catastrophe. It’s like a Soviet propaganda poster: a relic of the […]