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The Long Now Foundation's 10,000 year clock

The Long Now Foundation is building a mechanical clock that will keep time for 10,000 years to stand as an icon of long-term thinking. See photos of the prototype of the clock.

Newton's third law tells us that "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Sir Isaac Newton was talking about gravity and force, but the concept translates well into other decisions. Everything that we do now has some effect on the future. Want proof? Look at the ways the Industrial Revolution changed society and the family structure. It's a best practice to consider what the ramifications of our actions will be in the future.

The Long Now Foundation is dedicated to the concept of future thinking. The idea is basically that the future is now because what we do today affects the future. The foundation even uses five digit year numbering (it was established in 01996) to "solve the deca-millennium bug that will come into effect in about 8,000 years."

The Long Now Foundation is building a mechanical clock that will keep time for 10,000 years to stand as an icon of long-term thinking. The first prototype, designed by computer scientist Danny Hillis, is in the Science Museum in London's "Making of the Modern World" exhibit. Once the prototype was complete, The Long Now Foundation created an eight-foot tall planet tracking display called an orrery. These concepts are being combined to create one giant clock for the present and the future that will track many calendar and astronomical events.

The 10,000 year clock is to be installed in Van Horn, Texas, and they also have a possible site at Mt. Washington, eastern Nevada. Long Now can't currently say when the icon will be installed; after all, when you slow down and stretch out the "now," you know it will get be completed -- it's just difficult to say exactly when.

This TechRepublic gallery features photos of the prototype of the 10,000 year clock. Also, visit The Long Now Foundation site to read many more details about the 10,000 year clock project, including the Principles that Hillis used in the initial design stages and the first concept proof of the chime generator for the clock. If you're interested in learning even more specifics, the foundation sells a book about the mechanical drawings for the first prototype of the 10,000 year clock.

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Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

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