Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an avowedly anti-nuclear group, created the Doomsday Clock as a publicity stunt to oppose nuclear energy and weapons. Journalists loved it, and so it has stuck around, with a committee picking some new arbitrary hysterical point of no-return annually.

Last year it was at two minutes until midnight - when the world will end, presumably out of 1,440 possible minutes, which meant we were .0014 away from, well, something. A vague Armageddon caused by whatever is popular in media accounts of how the modern world is killing us. 

They basically do to nuclear power what Environmental Working Group does to food with its Dirty Dozen list - get a lot of media buzz while informing people about precisely nothing. As I've said before, they're the science equivalent of one of those TV preachers who says you need to send money to avoid eternal damnation.

Two minutes prior to midnight was the same as 1953, during the height of the Cold War. This kooky group thinks the world was just as likely to be destroyed in 2019 as when Russia and the U.S. were facing off in Europe, the Mid-East, South America, and Asia, both armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons.

Last year's 'we are closer than ever to doom' narrative didn't get much traction, so now they are even closer closer to nuclear Armageddon. Activists are a real buzzkill at New Year's Eve parties. 

When the Cold War ended, the clock was only set back to 17 minutes until midnight. So really it shouldn't be a clock at all. It should be a line graph with 17 segments. That is literally the farthest from our Doom we have ever been.

But instead of just nuclear weapons, now our doom is Donald Trump and global warming and Skynet. Just like when Greenpeace had to pivot from nuclear weapons after all those nuclear treaties (to saving whales),  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists had to modernize for pop culture as well so they flitted from nuclear weapons to to acid rain and the ozone layer to Gaia not being able to breathe properly; basically anything that you might find in a Midnight Oil song. They consistently find a way to, in Spinal Tap fashion, turn the amp up to 11.

Now they are concerned about cyber warfare which might set off nuclear bombs. See how they did that? 

Thanks to kids and their computers, they have moved it 20 seconds closer to the end of the world. Fortunately, culture is not dominated by a few corporate media sources, as it was until the 1980s, and the public see through this hype. They recognize that the only thing Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists haven't cited as part of the Apocalypse by now is that Rhianna hasn't dropped an album in four years, which has a lot more relevance to people's daily lives. 

If you are pop culture savvy, you noted a lot of 1980s references, with Spinal Tap and Scrooged and Midnight Oil, etc. That's the decade Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists remain trapped in. They miss the Cold War more than fellow soldiers and I from the time do.

You can relax. We are not any closer to Armageddon today than we were yesterday. This is just to sell ads for corporations and get money for the people in the group.