The Doomsday Clock created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists back in 1947 will be reset tomorrow. Originally, changes in the clock's minute hand represented the danger of global nuclear war. The closer the clock stands to midnight, the nearer the world is to Armageddon. The Bulletin now resets the clock based on its evaluation of other catastrophic risks. As the Bulletin press release notes:
Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists subsequently created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 as way to convey both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero). The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 19 Nobel Laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences. …
The last time the Doomsday Clock minute hand moved was in January 2007, when the Clock's minute hand was pushed forward by two minutes from seven to five minutes before midnight.
The precise time to be shown on the updated Doomsday Clock will not be announced until the live news conference in New York City takes place on January 14, 2010. Factors influencing the latest Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.
Below is a graphic showing each resetting—the closer the line gets to the bottom (midnight) the closer the world is supposed to be getting toward total catastrophe.
You can watch the resetting live by clicking onto this link tomorrow at 10:00 am EST. With North Korea and Iran acting up, warnings about bioterror, and the collapse of the Copenhagen climate change conference, I'm betting that folks at the Bulletin push the hands of fate closer to midnight.