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Time Crawls?

November 15, 2010

The year is flying by us: it’s already the middle of November, which, at least for those of us in Seattle, means dark, dreary days and a rapidly fading memory of what it’s like to see and feel the sun.

Photo by Scott Beale. Some rights reserved.

But folks at The Long Now Foundation are working on a project that attempts to change our perception of the passing of time: a 10,000 Year Clock.  The Foundation is a non-profit established in 1996 to protect and promote long-term or “slower/better” thinking by framing and fostering responsibility on a 10,000-year scale.  And the clock will be  “a monument scale, multi-millennial, all mechanical clock as an icon to long-term thinking.”

Stewart Brand, president of the foundation, states that the purpose of the clock is to “encourage long-term thinking, which is in short supply these days.”  But it also presents unique challenges: post-Apocalyptic considerations for the clock include the fact that it must function on Bronze Age technology, be unattractive to looters, and, of course, keep the time, all with very little maintenance or intervention.  Ambient music icon Brian Eno, another member of the Foundation,  is determining a way for the clock to chime the hour over the millennia without ever repeating the same sequence of notes.

Members and financiers of The Long Now Foundation include the founders of public companies that include Priceline and  Sun Microsystems.

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