The Jeff Bezos-funded 10000-year clock is finally being installed

Fredrick Soto
February 23, 2018

"In the year 4000, you'll go see this clock and you'll wonder, 'why on Earth did they build this?' " said Bezos to Wired.

In fact, the project was initially conceptualized by Danny Hillis (the founder of Thinking Machines Corporation) in 1989, almost three decades ago. People are welcome to visit the clock once it is built, but it is a several-hour drive from the closest airport and then a hiking trail that rises to 2,000ft above the valley.

Bezos has reportedly spent $42 million of his own money on the clock, which is created to survive neglect and will collect energy from the sun, and will use changes in temperature and a system of weights to power its timekeeping apparatus, NPR said. "Long Now Foundation", a non-profit organization which is putting in efforts to make this clock, want to make "long term thinking" more common among everyone. A post by Bezos, who has been on board with the project for the last five years or so, calls it "a special Clock, created to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking".

There will be five room-sized anniversary chambers carved into the mountain, the website says. The clock will not have the capability to store enough energy to display the time unless visitors "wind" it with a hand-turned wheel. A prototype of the clock that he built in the 1990s chimed twice on the eve of New Year 1999 to symbolize the start of the new millennium. In a tweet revealing the works, he credits "the genius of Danny Hillis, Zander Rose and the whole Clock team". Once a day, the gears will turn and interlace an elaborate system of slots and pins in a different combination, which determines the precise order in which the clock's 10 bells will ring. On the first anniversary, for instance, the clock will animate an orrery, a model of the solar system. The project led to the formation of the Long Now Foundation, which Hillis co-founded with Stewart Brand. Namely, a giant solar-powered clock in Texas.

Oh by the way - there's going to be a cuckoo that comes out every 10,000 years.

Excavation has already begun on the Texas desert site where the clock will be installed 500 feet into the ground.

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