It’s using a color-coded threat level system to determine how much danger the world is in. Please send help to America’s wizards because they are not well.
As is now pretty much a daily occurrence, Pottermore has another article about life in in the Wizarding United States in the run-up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And, as is also an almost daily occurrence, we are learning that Wizarding America is a terrifying place.
This time, Pottermore has shared a close look at the device that literally hangs at the entrance of Wizarding USA’s government building: a giant barometer that measures the amount of risk wizards are at for exposure to the non-magical populace. (Muggles in England, “No-Majs” in the USA). Because a giant threat index speaks to a government that is in no way paranoid or reactionary. Here’s a close-up of the design that was published on Pottermore:
Wondering if the similarity to the Homeland Security Advisory System that had become such a joke it was replaced in 2011 is a coincidence? It is not, as graphic designer Eduardo Lima explained, “[Production designer] Stuart Craig was very clear about what he wanted. He wanted it to look like a station clock. We looked at how they show terror alerts in the States, and National Security issues like that, and used their color scheme.”
Yes, witches and wizards of the 1920s have something that resembles a design no-majs wouldn’t have for about 80 years. Also, a magical one is presumably more useful than the one we had for almost a decade. I don’t know if that gives the magical one more or less authority.
By the way, the level the movie takes place in is, J.K. Rowling’s script says, “severe unexplained activity.”