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Two minutes till doom: Midnight on the clock means the end of humanity.

Humanity is getting closer to annihilating itself. That was the message last month from an organization of atomic scientists that announced it was advancing its so-called Doomsday Clock to 2 minutes to midnight. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) created the clock in 1947, at the beginning of the Cold War, to assess the threat of nuclear Armageddon. Originally set at 11:53—7 minutes from doomsday—the clock has been adjusted 23 times since. It once stood at 11:43 (in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union). Now, after advancing 30 seconds since last year, it’s as close to midnight as it’s been since the early 1950s, when the U.S. and Soviets each tested powerful nuclear devices. The BAS cited tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program and the U.S. threat to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal as among the reasons for the change. Although the clock is purely symbolic, the scientists hope it will get people and governments to recognize the threat. “The point of this is to encourage public discussion,” says Lawrence Krauss, a cosmologist at Arizona State University and a BAS board member. “What you’re trying to do is get people to act.”