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Jeff Bezos is Building a Giant Clock That'll Keep Time for 10,000 Years. Here's How It'll Work

The billionaire businessman has been working on this unique side project buried deep into a mountain in West Texas where he has invested roughly $42 million.
PUBLISHED 3 DAYS AGO
Cover Image Source: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos attends the Amazon Prime Video's Golden Globe Awards After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Cover Image Source: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos attends the Amazon Prime Video's Golden Globe Awards After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

From selling books online, Jeff Bezos has come a long way to establish Amazon as possibly the biggest e-commerce platform along with a presence in the OTT space. Apart from that, he has also invested in space travel and aerospace manufacturing through his firm Blue Origin. But one of his much-publicized works in progress is called the Clock of the Long Now or the 10,000-year clock, which is a 500-feet tall clock under construction deep inside a mountain in West Texas, as per Business Insider.

Image Source: Jeff Bezos attends
Image Source: Jeff Bezos attends "The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power" World Premiere at Leicester Square on August 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images)

Bezos has reportedly invested about $42 million to build the clock which is going to tick once a year for the next 10,000 years but the idea behind the model belongs to American inventor, Danny Hillis. Hillis conceived the idea of the clock back in 1986 and its first prototype was built on December 31, 1999, before going on display at the Science Museum in London to display the transition into the 2000s.

According to the 10,000-year clock's official website, Hillis wanted to build a clock that ticks once a year, where the century hand advances once every 100 years and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. The vision was, and still is, to build a clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years. "It should be charismatic to visit, interesting to think about, and famous enough to become iconic in the public discourse. Ideally, it would do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment. Such icons reframe the way people think," Stewart Brand, a founding board member of the Long Now Foundation, told the news outlet.


 
 
 
 
 
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"We aren't planning to build the animations for the 100, 1,000, and 10,000-year anniversary chambers, but will instead leave those to future generations. We are providing a mechanical interface into those chambers that provide those future builders with power and the correct clock-triggering events. We do intend to build the animation for the 10-year anniversary chamber but haven't decided what it will be yet," the website further revealed. The clock will be almost entirely underground and can only be accessed by foot traffic from the east once completed.



 

Bezos is also aided by various organizations such as Applied Minds Inc. which is Hillis' company leading the design of the clock. The Long Now Foundation, Penguin Automated Systems, Inc., and Swaggart Brothers, Inc. are contributing to the construction with Seattle Solstice who developed a saw to cut the spiral staircase out of stone in the clock chamber. Machinists, Inc. partnered with Bezos Expedition to forge many parts of the clock.

Image Source:
Image Source: W. Daniel Hillis, Vice President, Research and Development for Walt Disney, with a computer and abacus. | Location: Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, California, USA. (Photo by Kim Kulish/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

As for powering the giant clock, Hillis decided upon "regular human winding of a falling weight design for updating the clock face because the clock design requires regular human maintenance." A double dial with digits will display the year according to the current Gregorian calendar system and the clock will have a five-digit display, indicating the current year in a format like "02000" instead of the usual "2000".


 
 
 
 
 
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"The value of the clock is mostly in thinking about it. Civilization goes back 10,000 years, so this can help us think about what the Earth will be like 10,000 years from now. I ultimately think stories are the things that last the longest," Hillis told E-flux in an interview. "And to be a story, it has to have an element of mystery to it. The thing about monuments is that they tend to be bound by what they are. They’re very understandable. I mean, you look at a statute and you’ve seen it, that’s it. I wanted to make it engage you and pull you into it; to make it something that you can never quite entirely get your mind around."



 

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