I say that because over the years, we've been damn close to midnight on several occasions. The closest we've ever come was in 1953. That year, the United States and Russia tested nuclear devices within nine months of each other, prompting science to move the clock to 23:58.
It thankfully rolled back a few minutes over the years as our relations with Russia became less contentious, but that all changed in 1984, when the clock was set to 23:57. Those were the days when Time was putting terrifying images of mushroom clouds on their cover and Reagan always seemed to be one ill-timed joke away from killing us all with fire. It was a tense time, even if you were an adorable child at the time, like I was.
In all honesty, this cover just kind of made me want a nuclear weapon of my own.
However, by 1988, we were signing treaties with Russia and eliminating nuclear arsenals became all the rage. By 1991, the clock was set the furthest from midnight it's ever been: 23:43.
Unfortunately, the world wasn't able to keep that trend going. We've been slowly creeping back toward midnight ever since that brief moment of relative peace. In 2015, the clock was set back to its height-of-the-Cold-War time slot of 23:57. I know what you're thinking. A lot of that must have to do with ISIS and terrorism and such, right? Nope, still mostly just tense relations with Russia and the fact that we refuse to stop eating the planet. Hey, fuck you, progress!
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