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The World’s Scariest Clock

90 seconds to doomsday

In 1991, the Doomsday Clock took a huge step toward safety. Seventeen minutes. The cold war was over. When Berlin Wall came down in 1989, I already confidently felt forever safe.

For perspective, when I had started watching it in 1984, it was 3 minutes.

(If you are unfamiliar with The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist’s Doomsday Clock, the timeline and update explanation can be found here.)

I thought the world was safe. I wrote off the possibility of nuclear war. I didn’t think about it again until 2016, when the world start looking scarily stupid. Apparently, the world had been getting scarier without my noticing over the intervening years and was now even worse: back to three minutes.

The world was as scary as it was when I had started watching, and at this point, I didn’t understand, even in principle, how to fix it.

This morning I read Julian Borger’s article in The Guardian. 90 seconds. It is now officially the scariest time in human history (or at least since 1947 when the Doomsday Clock showed 7 minutes to midnight.)

Scarier than Russia getting the bomb. Scarier than the upgrade from simple atomic bombs to hydrogen bombs. Scarier than when less stable nations got their own bombs.

in 1989, I would have bet heavily that I’d never worry again about nuclear war. In 2016, I realized that I would have lost that bet, but I could not yet have imagined how badly I would have lost.

At 90 seconds, I am officially scared.

It’s a bet I wish I would have won.

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals

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