Suppose you have a plan to build a massive cuckoo clock that chimes once a millennium and lasts for 10,000 years. Suppose also that you want to place this ginormous clock in a hollowed-out cavern inside a mountain in West Texas.
Now suppose you need to find someone to pay for this ridiculous project. Who you gonna call?Jeff Bezos.
The Amazon founder is apparently throwing his financial weight behind truly one of the weirdest (and most steampunk) technological concepts ever proposed.
Danny Hillis and the nonprofit group the Long Now Foundation (somehow also involving musician Brian Eno) have already started work on a clock designed to last 10,000 years.
The blog The Technium reports:
The Clock is being machined and assembled in California and Seattle. Meantime the mountain in Texas is being readied. Why would anyone build a Clock inside a mountain with the hope that it will ring for 10,000 years? Part of the answer: just so people will ask this question, and having asked it, prompt themselves to conjure with notions of generations and millennia. If you have a Clock ticking for 10,000 years what kinds of generational-scale questions and projects will it suggest? If a Clock can keep going for ten millennia, shouldn't we make sure our civilization does as well? If the Clock keeps going after we are personally long dead, why not attempt other projects that require future generations to finish? The larger question is, as virologist Jonas Salk once asked, "Are we being good ancestors?"
Here's a shot of one of the gears.
And here's a super-creepy pic of Long Now Foundation member Stewart Brand standing in front of a scaled-down version of the clock.
Bezos' role is apparently to fund the project and provide property to build it on. He also launched this blog with some more info on why on earth he's doing this.
The whole concept is quite romantic.
Meanwhile this month, Bill Gates, Seattle's other über-rich technology mogul, used his financial prowess to help raise $4.3 billion for a global vaccine charity.
But hey, the clock-in-a-mountain thing is cool too.