Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dooms Day Clock

Wikipedia: The clock was started at seven minutes to midnight during the Cold War in 1947 (legend says because the scientist were appalled at what they had created), and has subsequently been moved forwards or backwards at intervals, depending on the state of the world and the prospects for nuclear war. Its setting is relatively arbitrary, set by the Board of Directors at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in response to global affairs. The setting of the clock has not always been fast enough to cope with the speed of global events, either; one of the closest periods to nuclear war, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, reached its head and resolution in a number of weeks, and the clock either could not be changed or was not changed to reflect any of this at the time. Nevertheless, the changing of the clock usually does provoke attention.

The clock's hands have been moved 18 times in response to international events since its initial start at seven minutes to midnight in 1947:

The number of minutes before midnight, an arbitrary measure of the degree of nuclear threat, is updated periodically. The clock is currently set to five minutes to midnight, having been advanced by two minutes on January 17, 2007.

I heard about this on the radio today, 30 countries are now thought to have some sort of nuclear arsenal. The clock has been set in varying times over the years from 17 minutes to midnight to 2 minutes to midnight.

Does it matter to the ordinary person, should we worry, do any of us really worry, or even think about the potential for nuclear war anymore?

Or do we hear this news and forget about it, just let it get boxed up in our memories somewhere?

My thought processes went something like this today after I heard the news........oh that sounds kind of scary......would some bizarre leader of a country take this as a challenge? In the past no one ever has, but with so many proverbial little red buttons in our world, could they, would they? ........but is there really anything I can do about it, if it happens it happens....I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight.....I wonder how much homework Miss Daughter has tonight.....I guess there are terrorist factions that have nuclear capabilities too......I wonder if I should change the oil in the car this's hump day, only two more days til the weekend....I hope gas prices go down again the gas gauge is at the 1/2 way mark and it's only Wednesday.....I wonder what I would do if I thought nuclear war was imminent.....god I am so tired.....Oh wow that's a good song playing now!

I am actually old enough to have smidgeons of memory from my early elementary school years when we had to practice what to do if nuclear war started (we actually believed it would keep us free from harm) and part of me wonders, how could so many educated adults do that to us as children, they had to know it wouldn't matter, who did they do it for? They had to have seen all the photographs and footage from Hiroshima and now seeps into my memory like a badly written Science Fiction novel. The very same things I was taught in first grade, are now taught to midwestern school children as protective measures against a tornado ( the maneuvers would offer some protection there).

So is this something that is just another interesting news item?

I guess it is to me, I am not going to do anything about it, I am not going to write to my congressman, I am not going to march in an anti-nuclear war ralley, I am going to do absolutely nothing about it, all I am going to do is go to bed and hope I wake up to a warmer tomorrow.

There are things I do do something about, child and adult abuse for one, raising money for Alzheimer's research, homeless shelters, and HIV/AIDS research, I have and will again I am sure boycott certain manufactured items to help make a point, I vote, but as to getting myself all worked up about WWIII, it just hasn't hit close enough to home for me yet, and if our world really gets to that point, would it be too late to do anything about, are we there now? Or is it just another item on the nightly news?

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