The Doomsday Clock is as close as it's been to Armageddon since the Cold War

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Jan 30, 2017, 2:42 PM EST (Updated)

You might know it best from Watchmen, but the Doomsday Clock is a real thing — and we just ticked a little bit closer to all-out Armageddon.

The Doomsday Clock has been around since 1947, serving as a symbolic representation of how close we stand to the abyss every day. From nuclear armageddon to the ravages of climate change, there are a lot of things that could send us over the edge in an instant.

And it turns out that after the roller coaster ride of 2016, the The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists decided we've inched 30 seconds closer to doomsday. We are now two and a half minutes from "midnight," just 30 seconds away from where the clock was set during the height of the United States' Cold War with Russia.

In moving the hand a bit closer, scientists cited a variety of reasons. Most notably: The heightened threat of nuclear war, the United States' escalating tensions with Russia, global warming and (yes) the election of President Donald Trump (largely due to his cavalier comments and attitude toward the proliferation of nuclear weapons). 

Here's an excerpt from The Bulletin's report explaining the change:

"Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity's most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change. The United States and Russia— which together possess more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons — remained at odds in a variety of theaters ... 

[W]avering public confidence in the democratic institutions required to deal with major world threats do affect the board's decisions. And this year, events surrounding the US presidential campaign — including cyber offensives and deception campaigns apparently directed by the Russian government and aimed at disrupting the US election — have brought American democracy and Russian intentions into question and thereby."

This is only the 23rd time the clock has moved since its creation and, for the sake of context, it actually didn't move at all during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So yeah, it's got to be looking pretty dire to actually tick that hand.

Hold your family close and savor life — because we're 30 seconds closer to it all being over, folks.

(Via The Verge)