Friday, February 04, 2005

The 10,000 year clock

"My customers were always looking at 'faster, faster.' So I naturally began to think of 'slower' as the unnoticed frontier."
-- Danny Hillis
Our society is certainly fixated on a faster/cheaper mentality - you can buy DVD players now for less than some DVDs. We buy faster and faster computers that are obsolete with in a year or two. When something breaks we rarely fix it - we just get a new one. We run in the rat race day after day to earn money to buy stuff to make our lives easier (but it only gets more complicated, doesn't it?)

I was reading an article today about a project to create a huge mechanical clock that will run acurately for the next 10,000 years in a cave near the Nevada/Utah border. The cost: $10 million. The purpose: to foster long term thinking and a slower/better mentality.

The clock is being developed by the Long Now Foundation which was established back in 01996 (they use a 5 digit date to solve the "deca-millenium bug" when the calendar rolls over to the year 10,000). The clock will be completely mechanical with a couple innovative technologies in place to keep the clock acurate over the long haul. The project is still in a fund raising and design mode but several prototypes have already been built. When will the final porject be completed? As the executive director of the Long Now Foundation says: "Not sooner than 10 years and possibly longer than my lifetime." That sounds like it is keeping within the foundation's ideals.


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