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The Almighty Buck Technology

Jeff Bezos Shares Video of 10,000-Year Clock Project ( 272

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared a video on Tuesday of his latest project: a giant clock designed to keep time for 10,000 years. Buried deep in a west Texas mountain, the project is in partnership with San Francisco-based group The Long Now Foundation, which grew out of an idea for a 10,000 year clock that co-founder Danny Hillis proposed back in the '90s. Now, the 500-foot tall mechanical wonder is finally undergoing installation. Bezos is fronting the cash for the $42 million project, saying on the project's website that the clock is "designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking." The clock is powered by a large weight hanging on a gear, built out of materials durable enough to keep time for 10 millennia. Bezos isn't the only noteworthy name on the clock project. Musician Brian Eno and writers Kevin Kelly and Stewart Brand are also involved in the clock's construction. The team has spent the last few years creating parts for the clock and drilling through the mountain to store the pieces. You can read Bezos's account of that and view photos of the progress here.
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Jeff Bezos Shares Video of 10,000-Year Clock Project

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  • 10,000 days (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 14erCleaner ( 745600 ) <> on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:00PM (#56159422) Homepage Journal
    I predict that money to guard it will run out in a few decades, after which it will be vandalized and plundered for metal, or occupied by survivalist squatters.
    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      An armored door with radioactive waste signage should be sufficient to keep people out. No need to guard it.
      • by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:10PM (#56159496) Homepage Journal

        Except those looking for Radioactive waste...

        • by sinij ( 911942 )
          Those looking for radioactive waste would likely measure radiation levels prior to spending considerable effort hacking at an armored door. Also there are easier way to get it, like from medical devices that are not generally stored behind armored doors.
          • Then they'd say: "Hmmm.... a radioactive waste sign, but no radiation. Somebody must have been trying to hide something valuable in here. Wilbur, go get the drill bits and a case of dynamite."

        • Yea, your suffering shall exist no longer; it shall be washed away in Atom's Glow, burned from you in the fire of his brilliance.

      • Will it though? This is a fundamentally difficult problem. The cultural meaning of signage and symbolism changes. It may in fact be impossible to put up radiation warning signs retain their meaning for 10,000 years, much less physically last that long. A couple decades ago, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant formed a panel of a bunch of thinkers (Carl Sagan was invited, but could not attend due to a conflict) and asked them to invent radiation warning signage that would last for an arbitrary length of time: 10 []

        • ...and the problem of the cultural meaning of symbols changing was never fully addressed.

          I think the cultural meaning of this symbol is pretty obvious. Rich Dude wants some future Percy Bysshe Shelley to write a poem about the ruins of the giant clock he had buried in the mountains, because that's where you put a symbol if you want people to appreciate it.

          Rich Dude seriously wants to be remembered? Just give all the money to Brian Eno and ask him to make a few more albums like "Another Green World".

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Alternatively they could build a sun dial out of masonry, which is a cheap and long-lived material. That would keep time (during the day) as long as the structure existed.

      Build it big enough and it could be quite precise, like this one [].

      • Alternatively they could build a sun dial out of masonry

        Imagine a visitor 9000 years hence, wandering into the clock.

        A sundial would tell them what time it was that day, sure (well, during the day...).

        But the Clock would not only tell them what time it was, it would tell them what YEAR it was, according to our frame of reference which may be different or forgotten by then.

        The point is not so much to simply display the time as to keep track of it over a very long time.

        And also of course, a reward for visitin

  • Wew. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:00PM (#56159424)

    When they find this in about 9900 years how many will think it means the world ends soon?

    • Actually I'm thinking that after the fall of civilization there's going to be a relegion start around this thing. The followers of it will go on a holy crusade against those crazy bastards who worship a nuclear warhead. Charlton Heston will become their savior after he detonates the warhead and kills all of those crazy nuke pagans. There'll be some talking monkeys lead by Roddy McDowell and Andy Sirkis will challenge him and win by using the force.
    • by gnick ( 1211984 ) many will think it means the world ends soon?

      Why would they design this clock to count down?

  • $42 million dollars to build a clock.
    • $42 million dollars to build a clock.

      Yeah, but it will be paid in Bitcoin, so it won't really be $42 million dollars.

      Future archeologists will determine that it is a fake Rolex bought on Canal Street anyway.

  • by WilliamGeorge ( 816305 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:05PM (#56159462)

    "How many millions of dollars does it take to build a clock that will keep time for 10,000 years?"


  • The Long Now Clock could be found by man's successor or people who have survived the fall of civilization. If it's aliens they're thinking of, Elon Musk's car in orbit is a fitting memorial to mankind.

    I think the car's cooler and makes me think more of long-term planning.

    • I think the car's cooler and makes me think more of long-term planning.

      The car is probably already damaged beyond reasonable repair, and is now space trash. Long-term planning?

      • It's still obviously a car, not a space vehicle, and there it is in space on the end of the second stage. Regardless of the fact that the bearings might not turn any longer, it says something.
  • What the hell is the purpose? The say "designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking". Pick up a rock, any rock and identify it and understand the process by which it was formed. There is your icon for long-term thinking.

    • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:22PM (#56159570) Journal

      If it also keeps away tigers, I'm in.

      • If it also keeps away tigers, I'm in.

        Have you seen any tigers in Texas lately (outside a zoo)? It's working even before its built!

    • It's a 'symbol' of Jeff Bezos' penis, specifically his inflated idea of how large it is.
      (or, perhaps, in compensation for how big it isn't)

      Occasionally, our species pleasantly surprises me with it's ingenuity, and how far it's come in it's evolution. This is not one of those times.
      • The difference between Bezos and Trump is that Bezos pays for his own penis extenders, whereas Trump wants YOU to pay for his (The Wall). I don't have any problem with Bezos doing whatever he wants (legally) with his own money.
        • Listen friend: I hate Trump at least as much as the next guy, but your comment is off-topic, and I do have a problem with rich assholes and their Conspicuous Consumption, so as far as I'm concerned I'll damned well tell him where he should be spending his damn money.
    • What the hell is the purpose?

      Some folks can't deal with the fact that they will eventually die, and want to leave a monument behind as a remembrance of their fantastic existence.

      Why did Pharaohs build Pyramids . . . ? If the dead Pharaohs could see the dorky tourists visiting their Pyramids, they would be deeply disappointed.

      Amazon won't be around in 10,000 years. The Washington Post won't be either.

      Dorky alien tourists 10,000 in the future will be gazing at the clock asking themselves, "What fuckwits wasted resources building th

      • “I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.” -- Woody Allen
  • by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:14PM (#56159520)

    If you want to know what God thinks of money, just take a look at who he gives it to.

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:33PM (#56159636) Journal
    I like clocks. I like accurate clocks, to be precise. I have several 'Atomic clocks', synchronized to WWVB out of Fort Colins, Colorado every night. I have a GPS receiver connected to my desktop, synching and RTC-clock-frequency adjusting it every minute, so it's never more than 1 second off. I went to a considerable amount of trouble to fine-tune the 32.768kHz crystal oscillator in a kitchen timer I have, that also displays the time of day, so it's down to single-digit PPM accuracy, only gaining a few seconds per week. More than once I've considered building a clock using an expensive low-PPM TCXO oscillator, so I'd have a clock that doesn't need to have it's setting adjusted for a year or more. So you could say I appreciate clocks.

    However: this is one of the most wasteful and stupid things I've ever heard of. Only some rich dude(s), with apparently nothing better to do with their money and time, would waste 42 million dollars on some shit like this. How many poor people could benefit from judicious application of $42M? Charities? Development projects? How much would Habitat for Humanity, for instance, be able to accomplish with that much money?

    MEMO TO JEFF BEZOS: Instead of lighting $42M on fire for something as fucking stupid and useless as this, how about you find out how many homeless people live within 50 miles of you, and see how many of them you can help get back on their feet again with that money?

    Seriously: We, allegedly, are the greatest nation on earth, yet we have a homelessness problem? People going hungry every day? Really?
    How about less RICH PEOPLE money spent on stupid excessive hobbies, and more spent on actually SOLVING SOME PROBLEMS.

    ..and YES, I'm angry on the inside about things like this when I hear about them. What of it?
    ..and NO, I'm one of the POOR PEOPLE, I can barely afford to take care of myself these days, let alone give money away to anyone else. What of it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When, in your opinion, are people allowed to do frivolous things they want with their money?
      Is the 10k year clock allowed only after bezos solves homelessness?

    • However: this is one of the most wasteful and stupid things I've ever heard of. Only some rich dude(s), with apparently nothing better to do with their money and time, would waste 42 million dollars on some shit like this. How many poor people could benefit from judicious application of $42M? Charities? Development projects? How much would Habitat for Humanity, for instance, be able to accomplish with that much money?

      Noting that the recent US Presidential Inaugural events [] (swearing-in and party) cost between $175M and $200M. The events for Obama and Trump were both in that ballpark, though Trump's was the more expensive.

      • (making an assumption that I don't think that's a stupid waste of money, too)

        I very specifically remember thinking a week or two ago that if I was elected POTUS, I wouldn't bother with nonsense like that, and when asked by the Press, I'd tell them "I've got a big job ahead of me, I really don't have time to throw big parties."

    • by beckett ( 27524 )

      how about you find out how many homeless people live within 50 miles of you, and see how many of them you can help get back on their feet again with that money?

      he did; some of those homeless are amazon warehouse employees. (n.b. if you sleep with your head on a smiling box it cushions the harsh sidewalk.)

    • they look at me like I have lobsters crawling out of my ears. If I use the term 'public' housing I still get the look, but it's more of a condescending "isn't that cute" look (even though they're the same thing). Folks remember the "projects" from the 70s. What they don't remember is what those projects were. We brought a bunch of super-poor dirt farmers to the city with the intent of providing them training, education and jobs. They got the apartments built and then the funding got pulled before the traini
    • I really wanted to correct you and point out that Jeff Bezos has donated much more then 42 million dollars to charities but it doesn't look like he has. Many other Billionaires have pledged to give away at least half their fortune before they die. Bezos has not: []

      Looks like he is a greedy git!

    • by rthille ( 8526 )

      How much money is wasted on the NFL? NHL?

    • by rthille ( 8526 )

      You can "build low-PPM TCXO oscillators" and you can't find a job that keeps you from being "one of the POOR PEOPLE" in this economy?


    • by RobinH ( 124750 )
      Yeah, like those pyramids. Nobody ever benefited from them. Except the bazillion people who benefit from the tourism in Egypt ever year. Also, it's his money. He's American. He can do whatever the heck he wants with it. Last time I drove south along I-75 through Ohio there was a 3-storey tall Jesus standing at the side of the road at a church looking at the highway. Apparently it burned down, so they built it again. People build stupid shit all the time. At least he spent 42 million employing some
    • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @08:43PM (#56161019)

      That $42 million didn't just evaporate - it was spent on things. Probably including a lot of engineering, performed by mechanical engineers with salaries in the 60-80k USD range, and machinists with pay rates in the (yearly equivalent) 30-120k range. Also construction workers, similarly in the 30-120k range. And restaurant workers, truck drivers, titanium refiners, etc. All of whom are going to spend that money or invest it in relatively short-term family investments. All in all not a bad way of expanding the economy by some multiple of $42 million (eeeek! fractional reserves! call for the Bitcoin(tm)!) by merely using some otherwise useless markers out of Bezos' account.

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      Because throwing money at some problems doesn't make them go away.

    • "I like clocks. I like accurate clocks, to be precise. I have several 'Atomic clocks', synchronized to WWVB out of Fort Colins"

      Wow, then i would think then that you are THE target audience. So you are either 1) jealous or 2) have lost your sense of wonder.

      42million over 10,000 years works out to $420 a year, so smoke some green and chill the fuck out bro.
      its a god damned art piece, and a pretty cool engineering challenge to boot.

  • Bezos is building a Prime 10,000 Year Clock, that will run to completion in 2 days.

    • You are obviously paraphrasing Linus Torvalds' famous comment, "We all know Linux is great... it does infinite loops in 5 seconds."
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @05:39PM (#56159692)

    The Clock is already illuminating with stark clarity the further decline of Slashdot into a realm of howling luddite monkeys.

    Ironically prooabiy many of the same people complaining about the clock are the same ones that complain modern electronics are no longer durable.

    If anyone wants to know the deeper reasoning behind why the clock exists, read the book "The Clock Of The Long Now: Time and Responsibility" [].

  • someday someone will find it and they will be pressing button every 108 minutes... another DHARMA Initiative...
  • who finds it disturbing that we're starting the see the kinds of absurd wastes of money here in America that we traditionally associated with Saudi Arabian Sheiks and Abu Dubai? Not too long ago the uber-wealthy were making it a point to hide this stuff from us working class slobs least we get uppity about it.
    • No, you're not alone. This is in the same category as selling flamethrowers.
      Having a lot of money apparently leads to idiocy.
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @06:08PM (#56159935)
    Sure, but does it adjust for DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME???
    • It keeps uses Solar Noon as it's time zone, so it adjusts every day or at least every day that has enough solar light at solar noon

  • Giant piece of calibrated carbon will work as well. If it is big enough, its isotopes can be measured using a simple handheld machine and it will have no moving parts or environmental effect. Ok, it won't have display that human eye can see it but then its remote location will prevent that as well.

  • by enjar ( 249223 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @06:34PM (#56160175) Homepage
    The concent of Saunt Bezos?
  • by TimMD909 ( 260285 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @06:47PM (#56160267) Homepage
    Will it blend?
  • We all know they are going to build a highway through this part of the Universe, necessitating the destruction of the Earth. When they rebuild the Earth I doubt they will remember to rebuild a clock hidden in a limestone mountain.
  • If you bury a clock in a mountain, does it still tell the time?

  • It's a front (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kaatochacha ( 651922 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @06:54PM (#56160311)

    For Jeff Bezos' Lex Luthor lair.

  • We need more over-rich humans, they obviously know best how to wisely govern the wealth they are blessed to control. That's why the world is so good for everyone, and getting better.
    Consider that we know the world's wealthy elite gather and associate quite a bit. They've had access to near all info for a while now, control the majority of the world's resources, and we've still got war and hunger. Less than a 100 humans could gather and end most, if not all, of the world's major issues tomorrow and there wou

  • Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away."

    Nothing but a vanity project for someone who wants to be immortal.

  • The Gregorian calendar will start getting out of sync with the tropical year by at least a day after 7700 years.

    Despite its average accurate over long periods we should dump the Gregorian calender. The periodic correction tends to make the days for solstice swing wildly between extremes.

    Also September, October, November and December are archaically named and do not appear at the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th months. (or we should go back to using March as the first month of the year. but I'm not suggesting some od

    • the only accurate calendars over that timespan are those that depend on astronomical observations that need to be done periodically in the future and can't be done ahead of time. doesn't matter what calendar is used, by 12018 it will be wrong

      • I just want the predictions of astronomical mechanics to be accurate to about a day over a longer period than that clock. That's reasonable, I'm not asking for infinite precision.

  • ...saying on the project's website that the clock is "designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking."

    Buried deep in a west Texas mountain...

    A symbol, an icon... is rarely an whimsical or esoteric device buried deep in a mountain. Instead, it’s typically an artifact of current culture, usually intended to perform some useful (possibly artistic) function, built in a public location where it ends up being a visible reminder of something intuitively meaningful to many.

    This... is at best a symptom of megalomaniac arrogance, inequality and waste that will be soon forgotten after a fleeting time of shallow fame.

  • ...there are plenty of peaks nicknamed as "Aiguille du Midi []", "bec de Mesdi []", "Cima Undici []", and so on. Probably every country has their owns. The names of these peaks come after the daytime hour when sun shines over the peak. This natural clock is of course not very accurate, but farmers ruled their daily work by looking and them, and they never complained about timing errors.These natural clocks work ummaned since more or less the Jurassic age, will go on working until erosion do not level them, and their

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington