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The Jeff Bezos-funded 10,000-year clock is finally being installed

By midian182 ยท 17 replies
Feb 21, 2018
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  1. Not content with being the richest person on earth, it seems Jeff Bezos is cementing his legacy for the next few millennia. The Amazon CEO has poured $42 million into a giant, 10,000-year clock that’s being installed inside a remote West Texas mountain.

    The project is the brainchild of Thinking Machines Corporation founder and computer theorist Danny Hillis, who came up with the idea back in 1986. It came from Hillis’ concern that society had a “mental barrier” of looking at the year 2000 as the limit of the future. To overcome this, he proposed a mechanical clock that would last 10,000 years. The project led to the formation of the Long Now Foundation, which Hillis co-founded with Stewart Brand.

    Drilling at the site began in 2009, but it’s only now that the 500-foot clock is being installed. As electronics can’t be used in a clock that is meant to last 10,000 years, it’s powered by thermal cycles; the changes in day and night temperatures keep it running. A spiral staircase circles its 12.5-foot diameter, and the clock will be synchronized at solar noon.

    Bezos, who tweeted a time-lapse video of the clock’s construction, said it is a “symbol for long-term thinking.”

    “[Hillis] wanted to build a clock that ticks once a year, where the century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. The vision was, and still is, to build a clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years,” wrote the Amazon exec.

    “As I see it, humans are now technologically advanced enough that we can create not only extraordinary wonders but also civilization-scale problems. We’re likely to need more long-term thinking.”

    The clock, which is made entirely out of Marine grade 316 stainless steel, titanium and dry ceramic bearings, will only tick forward once a year, though its chime generator will create a different bell ringing sequence each day for 10,000 years. Once every millennium, a cuckoo will come out of its hole.

    The public will be able to visit the clock when it is completed, though no date has been given. But making the trip won’t be easy: Bezos writes that "the nearest airport is several hours away by car, and the foot trail to the Clock is rugged, rising almost 2000 feet [610m] above the valley floor."

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2018
  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,312   +1,923

    Imagine if Bezos put this kind of money and effort into making Amazon's product descriptions consistent so the searches were actually effective. That would easily save about 500 years worth of customer time annually.
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,118   +2,541

    Jeff Bezos is a modern day pharaoh, whipping slaves into building himself a pyramid from cogs.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  4. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 656   +200

    In 10,000 years the natives of that time will become afraid because "The Americans built this clock to last thousands of years and it's about to stop. Armageddon is upon us!" I.E. the Mayan Calendar scare.
    TempleOrion, alabama man and Stark like this.
  5. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 819   +333

    "Legend has it when the clock stops the ghost of the Orange one will descend to us again and unleash Fire and Fury the likes we have never seen."
    TempleOrion, Tanstar and wiyosaya like this.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,414   +2,879

    So .... he's never heard of the Atomic Clock or how finite it's accuracy is? Somehow the word Stupid simply isn't enough .......
  7. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,035   +553

    The atomic clock requires a lot of human interaction for maintenance. This sounds like it will just run on change in potential thermal energy from day-to-night-to-day, and its made of the right materials to last a while. I doubt it will be anywhere near as accurate as an atomic clock, or will even last 10k years, but its an interesting project nonetheless.
    TempleOrion, darkzelda and Uncle Al like this.
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,414   +2,879

    Of course that also begs the question .... if there is nobody around to maintain it, there is also nobody there to read it .... so what value does it present? I think the boy would made a much wiser investment to just buy a $30 Timex ......
  9. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Maniac Posts: 219   +132

    This is what is wrong with America, put luxury first not people in need. I hope some starving poor kid looks at that clock then punches him in the face. If you're gonna blow Millions do it for something that helps humans. This and the Gold plated phone and tablet makes me laugh.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  10. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,063   +1,539

    Personally, I limit this to insanely rich narcissistic children (especially if you include Elon Musk and his 10-billion year Tesla) in adult bodies who have no clue how the rest of the world lives. I do not think that this extends in any way to all Americans.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  11. Catweazle

    Catweazle TS Enthusiast Posts: 48   +36

    The thing about the Tesla is they had to have a payload to test, so instead of a load of concrete they used a car. It still got the job done and as a bonus was something fun and brought the company a lot of great PR. This clock on the other hand, I just don't see any point in it. Seems like a huge waste of money for something no one needs but I guess it is his money to waste as he sees fit. There were way better uses for it though.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  12. Les LaZar

    Les LaZar TS Rookie

    Give the guy a break; he didn't bury the $42 million in the mountain, it was used to pay for the design, site & preparation, fabrication and installation of the parts. It contributed to the economy and kept a number of folks gainfully employed for the duration.

    As an engineer, I think of it as a work of art.
    TempleOrion and Kibaruk like this.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,063   +1,539

    This was discussed ad-nauseum in the thread on the Falcon Heavy launch. What Musk did was to launch Falcon Heavy the day before the Tesla earnings report - which turned out to be a loss of some $370M. In the minds of Tesla's investors, the successful launch of Falcon Heavy somehow equates to the ability to turn Tesla around and make them profitable. To me, one side of the equation does not necessarily equal the other...
    As I see it, it is $42M worth of stuff buried in a mountain, so the metaphor works for me. ;)
    Boilerhog146 and TempleOrion like this.
  14. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,063   +1,539

    It would probably also end returns from people who did not get what they thought they were getting.
  15. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,035   +553

    Think of it like the Pyramids at Gyza, and Bezos is the Pharo. At the end of the day it is a tribute to the ego.
    wiyosaya and TempleOrion like this.
  16. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 814   +544

    I'm starting to think Bezos and Amazon want to be the one corporation that rules the world.
    wiyosaya and TempleOrion like this.
  17. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,063   +1,539

    Great reference to Lord of the Rings! ;)
  18. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Evangelist Posts: 617   +217

    Who will be still here in 10,000 years to go check the time.?by the amount of damage that we have done in the last 100 years or so,this planet will no longer support life.we'll all be like the Pharaohs, dust.

    How can ya tell if its running fast or slow.? its not built by the swiss..!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018

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