Monday, January 15, 2007

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking

The Doomsday Clock is ticking again.

Its timekeepers, the publishers of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, have announced they will move the clock's hands on Wednesday to reflect "nuclear ambitions in Iran and North Korea, unsecured nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere, the continuing 'launch-ready' status of 2,000 of the 25,000 nuclear weapons held by the U.S. and Russia, escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks," according to a press release.

Currently, the hands of the clock are at seven minutes till midnight. When the clock strikes twelve, to quote Prince, "party over / oops, out of time."

Whenever I think of the Doomsday Clock, I can't help but think of one of its most chilling pop-culture applications on the back covers of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "Watchmen" comic book series. There, each issue featured a clock (not necessarily THE clock, but given the subject matter of the book, it more than likely was) moving one minute closer to midnight with each chapter, and blood oozing down the page to engulf the timepiece, which it eventually does in the final image. Here's a look from issue 10:

Scary, huh? And while the real clock may be purely symbolic, the symbol isn't a very positive one for our world.

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