The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Watching the Clock

Watching the clock is an old idiom that means that we want something to finish so that we can get on with the rest of our lives.  Usually, what it is that we want to finish is boring, laborious or something we consider to be unfulfilling.

Last week the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set the minute hand on it’s Doomsday Clock to 3 minutes before 12 midnight.  If we were watching the clock then the tediousness, laborious action that we are involved in hasn’t got long to go.  Just three minutes – not long is it?

But in this case it is three minutes that we do not want to pass by.  The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock represents just how close human society is to self destruction.  Close, very close, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Every year since 1947 the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has met to analyse international threats.  Initially it was the threat of nuclear warfare and annihilation that they focussed on, and in 1947 (just one and half years after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) the Clock was set at seven minutes to midnight. 

Over the next six years the minute hand crept closer to midnight, reaching 11:58 pm in 1953, the closest it has ever been set to midnight.  This coincided with the US and USSR trading nuclear tests and the build up of their respective nuclear arsenals.  As the two nuclear super-powers began to see sense during the 1960s and 1970s the minute hand slipped back again so that by 1972 it was resting at 12 minutes to midnight. 

However, the onset of the Cold War and other nations joining the “Nuclear Club” the clock again moved perilously close to midnight, getting to three minutes before midnight in the mid-1980s. 

Again, reason was seen by the superpowers and the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by the US and the Russians saw the minute hand move the furthest it has ever been from midnight – being set at 11:43pm in 1991 where it remained for four years.
Unfortunately, an increase in militarisation and the testing of nuclear weapons by India, Pakistan and North Korea brought the minute hand closer to midnight again.

In assessing the threat of annihilation the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists added climate change to its measures in the mid- 2000s and the clock ticked down towards midnight, reaching five minutes to midnight in 2012. 

However, this year the minute hand has been reset – this time two minutes closer to midnight – just three minutes away from Doomsday!  Only twice before has the Doomsday Clock been so perilously close in its 68 year history.

Are we watching the clock?  Those who assess and make a decision on where to set the minute hand are amongst some of the most distinguished scientists in the world.  Scientists, by training, tend to be cautious if anything on making judgements and predictions.  If this body of scientists has set the clock at just three minutes to midnight then they are worth listening to.

Certainly, the clock that they have set is worth watching.  We must now all act to stop the clock ticking even closer to midnight.

1 comment:

  1. Very thought-provoking post, Bruce. Let's hope that clock never strikes midnight...


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