The Doomsday Clock, a very appropriately named metaphorical timepiece that predicts the possibility of nuclear apocalypse, says that the world is a figurative minute closer to radioactive catastrophe than it was in 2010, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The clock, run by the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, was started in 1947 and symbolically set at seven minutes to midnight — basically to make people realize that nuclear power ain’t fuckin’ around.
When the world looks like it’s approaching nuclear conflict, the Board traditionally convenes a meeting and sets the clock a minute closer to midnight.
So, in the 1960s, the clock was set at five minutes to midnight, eventually reaching two minutes to midnight when the U.S. wanted to pursue the H-bomb, the Times reports. When it became obvious that the U.S. and Russia did not want to destroy each other with nukes, the clock was wound back.
Because of the Fukushima disaster in Japan — and continued unwillingness of the international community to end nuclear proliferation — scientists say that we’re closer to atomizing ourselves than a mere two years ago.