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Doomsday clock

The Doomsday clock is a symbolic clockface maintained since 1947 by the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. It uses the analogy of the human race being at a time that is a 'few minutes to midnight' where midnight represents destruction by nuclear war.

The clock was started at seven minutes to midnight during the cold war in 1947, and has subsequently been moved forwards or backwards at intervals, depending on the state of the world and the prospects for nuclear war.

The clock is now (2002) back at seven minutes to midnight, after recent deterioration in international relations. Each time nuclear conflict comes closer, it is moved forward, and vice versa. It has been moved 17 times.

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