We’re not 100 actual seconds from an apocalyptic disaster at this moment, or at any other moment, based on the position of the Doomsday Clock. In fact, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world was arguably perched most precariously on the precipice of nuclear war, the infamous minute hand didn’t move a bit. The clock (which, by the way, does not exist physically—you can’t go visit it, which would probably be the most existentially distressing long weekend one could plan) is meant to remind us that global catastrophe has been just around the proverbial corner from the moment our species entered its nuclear age. It’s not keeping tabs on day-to-day threats; a board of scientists and policy experts convene just twice a year to decide whether it’s time for a tick, and they only make announcements on clock hand movement (or lack thereof) periodically.
What makes the Doomsday Clock tick?