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10,000-Year Clock Is Passion of Jeff Bezos

10,000-Year Clock Is Passion of Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos arrives for the premiere of 'The Post' on Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 22 February 2018 03:26 PM

A 10,000-year clock, a passion of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is currently being constructed inside a West Texas mountain range with the aim of encouraging people to think about the distant future, or "long now," National Public Radio reported Thursday.

The 500-foot-tall clock was the idea of Danny Hillis, who designed the clock to run with little maintenance and interruption, measuring time in years and centuries instead of seconds and minutes, NPR said.

Bezos posted a video of the project on Twitter.

"I cannot imagine the future, but I care about it," Hillis, polymath inventor and computer engineer, said on the Long Now Foundation website. "I know I am a part of a story that starts long before I can remember and continues long beyond when anyone will remember me.

"I sense that I am alive at a time of important change, and I feel a responsibility to make sure that the change comes out well. I plant my acorns knowing that I will never live to harvest the oaks.

I want to build a clock that ticks once a year. The century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. I want the cuckoo to come out every millennium for the next 10,000 years," Hillis continued.

The clock is located under a limestone mountain near Van Horn, Texas, on land owned by Bezos. The Long Now Foundation said it will take a long hike to reach the clock's interior gears, with the entrance tunnel set 1,500 feet above the high scrub.

Bezos has reportedly spent $42 million of his own money on the clock, which is designed 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.

"I've been helping Danny with the project for the last half dozen years," Bezos said in a statement on a website dedicated to the clock. "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."

NPR wrote that while there is no scheduled completion date for the clock, visitors will be allowed to hike to the site once it is done. The clock will not have the capability to store enough energy to display the time unless visitors "wind" it with a hand-turned wheel.

"The biggest problem for the beating clock will be the effects of its human visitors," the Long Now website said. "Over the span of centuries, valuable stuff of any type tends to be stolen, kids climb everywhere, and hackers naturally try to see how things work or break. But it is humans that keep the clock's bells wound up, and humans who ask it the time.

"The clock needs us. It will be an out of the way, long journey to get inside the clock ringing inside a mountain. But as long as the clock ticks, it keeps asking us, in whispers of buried bells, 'Are we being good ancestors?'"

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A 10,000-year clock meant to encourage people to think about the distant future is under construction inside a West Texas mountain range.
10, 000, year, clock, jeff bezos
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2018-26-22
Thursday, 22 February 2018 03:26 PM
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