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Doomsday Clock

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The Doomsday Clock represents how close the end of the world and humanity's extinction lies. It's a symbolic clock, with scientists repositioning the hands closer to or further from midnight in accordance with the global threats at hand. The closer the hand is moved to midnight, the closer is catastrophic destruction. Conversely, as the minute hand is moved further from midnight, the safer do scientists deem the world to be. Nuclear tests and threats, climate changing technologies, and new developments in biological sciences can force scientists to reassess the hand's current position.

The clock most closely approached midnight in 1953 when the US and USSR tested nuclear devices within three months of one another. At the time, the threat of nuclear Armageddon looked imminent on the horizon. At present, the clock reads 11:55 pm, following North Korea's nuclear test and Iran's nuclear ambitions.


Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. Do you think the world will end anytime soon? Why/not?

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. The Doomsday Clock marks the precisely when humans will become extinct.  T / F
  2. The hand reached midnight when the US and USSR tested nuclear weapons.  T / F

Summarization: Summarize the article with a partner. Try to do so with only two or three sentences.

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Do you think the clock has any importance or impact on world events?
  2. When do you think the hand was furthest from midnight? Why?
  3. What should companies, departments, and/or managers do to motivate employees?

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