Simply put one man, by the name of Jeff Bezos. Why, is the main and over riding question, would I be asking what the connection is between an online retailer and a clock?
Well it would appear that Jeff Bezos is involved in a philanthropic venture that has built an absolute behemoth of a clock, deep in a mountain in the United States of America. This would be no ordinary clock, this is a clock that will be accurate for the next 10,000 years… Yep, you read that right. This thing is so huge it is built inside a mountain which is part of Mr Bezos’ land in Texas. This horological marvel is fully mechanical, powered by the Sun, uses predominantly stainless steel, titanium and ceramic ball bearings, accurate to one day in 20,000 years. It is amazing!
Little things like how the year indicator is laid out, well taking into account the scores of millennia being timed, the Gregorian calendar display now obviously has 5 digits rather than the customary four that we are used to. Modern technology has played a massive part in this project, with a large amount of the design work being done on computer, and even the design and materials being ‘stress’ tested virtually. To quote from the release, ‘it displays the natural cycles of astronomical time, the pace of the stars and the planets, and the galactic time of the Earth’s procession.’ So to my mind it would be similar to sidereal time or also know as the equation of time, in complicated watch pieces. Surprisingly even a cuckoo has been built into the clock, though you will have to wait a very long time to see it as it only comes out every millennia!
Another rather interesting feature about this clock is the chiming system, similar to a minute repeater in some ways. The clock always chimes at noon every single day, the sounds are realised by using 10 different bells, with the clear intention that with 10 bells you can achieve 3,628,800 different permutations. The identical number to the number of days in a 10,000 years, so you would experience a different sound every single day. You can go and visit the clock though it is quite an arduous ordeal of crossing a desert, climbing up a mountain, climbing through tunnels and a staircase, past the machinery and finally into the clock chamber. It will be worth it, as this is a symbol of our time, our civilization and also our legacy.
This is not the time capsule that you buried at school or in your backyard for your descendants to find, this is a great big one which works, is functional and will be useful to them in the future too.