The Long Now site says, "Located under a remote limestone mountain near Van Horn, Texas, it will require a day’s hike to reach its interior gears. Just reaching the entrance tunnel situated 1500 feet above the high scrub desert will leave some visitors out of breath, nicked by thorns, and wondering what they got themselves into." Presumably that means Jeff wants to make it a little bit challenging for people to find the Clock, at least for a few years.
The Clock is designed to require the Hero's Journey to reach, because it's primarily designed to inspire, to bring people to spiritual experiences, not to tell time.
Also, keep in mind that the greatest risk to the Clock is human vandalism and looting — the one thing you can't protect against by design, although they've certainly tried. If the Clock survives a century without anyone visiting it, it will have made it 1% of the way to its design lifespan.
They've published enough photos and videos that it should be possible to find, though.
It appears to be on privately owned land that is part of a huge ranch in the area. So maybe the hero's journey is avoiding angry texans with shotguns if you either (a) cut the padlock off the gate that blocks vehicle access to the road up the mountain, or (b) park your vehicle near the gate and ride a mountain bike up the road.
Cookiemon's comment at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16451497 links to Danny Hillis's lecture at https://soundcloud.com/longnow/progress-on-the-10000-year-cl... which also talks about the Monomyth and theme park design.
The 4chan CTF was truly epic and hilarious though.
I looked up the story expecting "epic and hilarious", and got "/pol/ Neo-Nazis harass a bunch of people for not liking Trump and steal an anti-Trump flag. But look how clever they were about stealing it!"
Is there some other, similar story that I'm missing?
As far as the "Nazis!" claim goes you need to be able to read between the lines if you want to read an imageboard as trollish as 4chan. And if you want to see who really is behind the posts you can look up the first "He will not divide us" event at a New York museum. Spoiler alert: It's not nazis. ;)
"The trolls started targeting people who went to the protest and, when figuring out their identity, fucking with them for days." https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/d7eddj/4chan-does-first-g...
'"I've never had so many people tell me that they wanted to see me die and to kill myself." Then 8chan users got hold of Paper's address. He said they've been harassing his family. "I just got off the phone with my mom and people are basically like calling my house and leaving voicemails, racist voicemails," he said.' https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/what-happens-when-alt...
"Hitler did nothing wrong" went from a provocative joke to a political stamement. 4chan is the embodiment of "any community that gets its laughs by pretending to be idiots will eventually be flooded by actual idiots who mistakenly believe that they're in good company".
That puts modern 4chan in the somewhat ironic position of being actually on the side of the American government for the most part something I couldn't really imagine 2007 ever endorsing, regardless of the who's in charge.
I'm sort of fascinated by the phenomenon, which I think of as "LOLgical argument". You start off with a joke where the humor is based in an extreme and socially transgressive statement. It could be "Hitler did nothing wrong," or "The Earth is flat," or any number of similarly absurd ideas. The original users are trolls who privately do not actually believe what they are saying, but enjoy "rustling jimmies" and the increased status their daring obtains.
But as more members of the community join in, the original statement loses its edge, and even more transgressive poses are needed to continue the joke. Often this means doubling-down, and telling others that you do indeed believe the thing that they had, at some level, still been treating as a punchline.
This meta-joke involves finding "proof" that the shocking thing you said before was actually true, and demonstrating your commitment, by creating memes and other "evidence"-based arguments for it. In doing so, you begin to create a community that becomes indistinguishable from a community that actually believes the original statement.
As these arguments pile up, even trolls who started off disbelieving their original statement find themselves surrounded by "evidence" they were right all along. There is a swell of camaraderie as those who were bold enough to question the official version of reality begin to support each other. The community pressure, the ego boost of having discovered some secret suppressed knowledge, and the psychological difficulty of abandoning their previous position all contribute to the complete conversion of a troll into an earnest believer.
I find this fascinating because it works in such opposition to the ways we normally talk about convincing people of new ideas. It's not the logic of the argument here that leads people to a new conclusion but rather the logic of the joke, the idea that the funniest punchline to an absurd joke is to actually believe it. When enough individuals in a community feel that way, they can actually end up convincing each other.
So it's not so much that the community becomes "flooded by actual idiots" as it is the original trolls who become believers themselves.
Vonnegut once wrote, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." He was probably more right here than he knew.
But I also think you need to take into account that many of the original users who genuinely did not seriously believe the "Hitler did nothing wrong"/"Hearth is flat"/"Donald Trump would make a great president"/... meta-joke end up leaving when things get serious. It's actually a feature for the extremists who push these ideas, if you're not with them you're against them, it's all about creating an echo chamber at this point. Reddit is terrible for that because of the moderation and voting system but even on 4chan good luck trying to argue against the hivemind, you'll just get insulted over and over until the thread 404's. Eventually you give up and stop bothering.
Besides, 4chan is still the fedora-tipping site that mocks religious fundamentalists, it’s just progressives have become just as uptight and strict about their sacred beliefs (if not more so), so 4chan mocks them too. Because it’s funny.
4chan behavior is canary in coal mine.
Remember that white supremacist march last year where one of the marchers suddenly tore off his white shirt and started crying that he wasn't really a Nazi, he was just doing it for the lulz and everything got out of hand?
That makes it all okay, then.
Despite their ... Dubious intent.
1. watched live streams of the flag
2. studyied the flight patterns and contrails of the airplanes passing overhead
3. mapped out what they saw and took their findings to flight radars to try and pinpoint a general area.
4. Using the knowledge gleaned from the flight patterns they found that the location was near Greeneville, Tennessee
5. users studied the star patterns and their movements and with that, plus a tweet that Labeouf sent out in a Tennessee diner, the trolls were able to narrow the area even further—to a small patch of land between a house and a river.
6. Drove around and honked their car horn until picked up by the live stream
This is not hard to do and hardly novel. Also done using all public information and the target used poor opsec.
But the entire talk is worth listening to.
It's not intended to be a secret - it's there to be visited (I hope one day to visit it myself), the mountain is part of a pilgrimage to better frame the experience.
I never got the impression it was supposed to be hidden--just physically difficult to reach.
Can't wait for the first ADA lawsuit, though...
I'm not sure if obesity will prevent them from visiting though.
> "Penn Jillette suggested that the real way to do this is make a video documentary of the making of the clock and then hiding it, but not actually doing it," Rose says. "(The clock) never gets found, but people would become intrigued. The mystery of the clock becomes the real thing." 
Neal Stephenson wrote that book, it's called Anathem.
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
He's got a watch with a minute hand
Millennium hand and an eon hand
And when they meet it's a happy land
Long Now, by the way, has a great center and bar at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It's my favorite place to get a drink in the city--great bartenders, very low-key, and lots of interesting stuff to look at.
It also turns out that Texas is very similar to Nevada in terms of geological stability, so it makes a similar amount of sense.
I've been stopping by at midnight for the past year or two in hopes that I'll be able to see the system in action, but alas it appears the system is so complex that repairs are costly. For those of you intrigued with The Long Now and are based in SF - definitely visit The Interval, it's one of the more interesting "themed" bars out there with books and a collection of mini exhibits dedicated to science, art, and music.
The Amtrak Station is technically in Sierra Blanca, TX FYI.
When you finally get to Sierra Blanca, then what? There aren’t any car rental places there and certainly not any taxis.. and I am sure you aren’t going to just walk everywhere — look at the distances. The West Texas Light Rail Project hasn’t quite made it as far as Sierra Blanca or Van Horn.
Your advice to take Amtrak is just ridiculous and could get some idealistic, yet ignorant hipster eaten by vultures or, at the very least, severely sunburned and dehydrated.
I've hitched a ride from Kent to Van Horn which is about as far in the opposite direction. West Texas is beautiful. Bring a bicycle, and don't go in the summer.
There are lots of car rental places in those small towns. A good example is another Amtrak stop, Alpine, Texas. You can rent plenty of types of cars, lots with 4x drive, before venturing on to Big Bend National Park.
For those who aren't familiar, Long Now is a non-profit dedicated to long term thinking (on 10,000+ year timescales).
It's one of my favourite books.
I fail to see how that is pertinent. We know the world will still exist in 10,000 years, but we have no idea what it will look like. The mere existence of a clock that could potentially still be running then doesn't change anything about that, does it?
If anything, celestial objects do exist and provide some kind of a natural long term clock. I really don't get what a mechanical one hidden in a mountain adds to it.
That’s the point. The point of the clock is to put a frame on a span of nearly unimaginable time and live life now in a way that will be significant in 10,000 years - it is a challenge to do big, great, meaningful things with long term impact.
The clock itself as a mechanical object is an expensive monument and nothing more, it likely won’t last the full 10,000 years of course...
That does not make much sense to me. You can't both admit we have no idea what the world will be like in ten thousands years, and at the same time claim you can do something that will be significant in such time frame. You don't know what will be significant then.
This style of thinking sometimes has its benefits, like gathering together a community to build a mechanical clock, create a manual for restarting a civilization, or write a non-fiction book about "earth without people".
It's just an interesting intellectual, cultural endeavor.
There are one more point. This clock is a signal to a future, and this clock will have some meaning for our ancestors. We do not know what meaning it will be exactly, but we can be sure, that there will be some.
It is like the Stonehange. We don't know why ancient people bothered to build Stonehange, but we inspired to think about it.
I hope I'm not the only one who appreciates the irony of this sentence.
Of course, 100 years from now I'll probably be wrong, the word irony is so thoroughly misused, that by then the dictionary will have dropped the word poignant entirely, substituted "irony" and we'll need a whole new phrase to say what one word, "irony", means now.
Look at everything ISIS and the Taliban blew up. Look at all of the random vandalism everywhere. There was once a cool balanced rock near Fredericksburg, Texas — until in 1986 vandals blew it up with dynamite for no reason other than “fun.” I visited that place when I was a little kid and I was 9 when it was destroyed.
Be inspired — but be disappointed. Humanity is a dark and imperfect species. That’s why I treat utopians, Communists, and socialists with such contempt — because they base entire economic philosophies on a naïve hope of the perfection of man rather than acknowledging man’s inherent desire for his own self-interest.
I don’t know what will happen to the clock. What I know is someone put in the time to make it and express their idea now. In this moment in time that inspires me.
What does a defeatist attitude of dwelling only on the negative do to improve the human condition?
Sometimes, to yield to the current gives strength.
These two points of view provide balance. You have to decide where you stand relative to this pendulum. Humanity will protect what it finds valuable. Valuable in what way will be the decision. We can make moral judgements now, based on where we stand in this moment, but the future will make its own decisions.
I have this weird thought that this project could be undone by fracking within 100 years.
Current well map shows how much is in the area: http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/oil-gas/major-oil-and-gas-formati...
(FYI, the Texas Railroad Commission is the regulTor of oil & gas operations in the state. )
Are there any physical 1000+ year clocks for sale?
Asking for a friend.
(previous discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16419434)
The problem is those don't have an automatic synchronization mechanism. That's the really tricky/cool part about the 10ky clock.
If you wanted to create, say, a time capsule that'll last for 1000 years with a working watch, I think your best bet would be some ultra-low power microcontroller and an LCD that you could turn on occasionally. Both power and syncronization could be done from temperature variations. Just leave it buried somewhere outdoors exposed to daily (night and day) and seasonal variations, it should be enough to keep time with +/- a few hours at decent probability.
Just make sure to avoid anything that exhibits remotely any degradation, like electrolytic capactitors, and account for erosion of the moving parts.
Some relevant discussion: https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/317684/could...
Opportunity cost exists
: https://www.givewell.org/how-we-work/our-criteria/cost-effec..., http://www.businessinsider.com/the-worlds-best-charity-can-s...
For another example, building out space infrastructure.
The notion that the other things we do, with creating and building, often don't pay off in a radically superior way than directly saving a life, is ridiculous.
How many lives could we have directly saved instead of doing the space race? How about: instead of a space race, the US and USSR focus more on regressive behavior, war, and nuke the shit out of eachother, killing hundreds of millions of people.
How many lives will the transistor have saved, improved, or made possible over a century: should that investment have gone into saving 10,000 or 100,000 lives back then instead?
Your setup is a false choice.
Also, I would contest that some of those charities are arguably long-term thinking as well.
> the allocation of our limited resources is a difficult and interesting problem
The one without sin cast the first stone. There is always a better, more impactful choice available today than spending time online or watching Netflix. Yet, it is unreasonable to expect others to live the life of Mother Teresa when oneself is writing it on such forums. Even the most good people alive today probably played a game, read a book or watched TV at times. People should not be judged on what they did in their off time, but what absolute good they have accomplished. Let Mother Teresa build all the silly clocks she wants.
Not all money is going to be spent productively, and not everything needs a clear purpose.
To me the question is: how will we measure time once we become a multi-planet species?
It looks like it has a large pendulum, maybe 50m which would lead to it ticking every 7 seconds or so?
The large weight simply powers the clock by gravity. The blowtorch part of the video shows the triple-sided chain attached to the weight.
Visitors to the block will wind up the weight in order to hear the chimes. The clock chimes once per day, and a mechanical computer varies the chime such that it is different each day for the full 10,000 years. If it's not wound, the chimes are silent.
The time-keeping function of the clock is much smaller and can run for a long time without anyone winding the clock. The idea is that even if there is a serious calamity, the clock will continue to keep time until it's found again and wound by visitors.
Looks like some construction work on top of a mountain near Bezos' land north of Van Horn. If you zoom out, you can see it shows 'West Texas Suborbital Launch Site' a bit to the east.
Looks like it's in the Sierra Diablo range.
Bing's satellite map of the same place:
Background image from the site you linked looks consistent with those sheer ridges in the Bing imagery: http://www.10000yearclock.net/img/bg.jpg
That's visible in the bottom of this satellite image:
For lowering equipment & materials (skyline hoisting.)
Wonderful. I was simply asking how did they do that. Like in technical details.
If they can master this, they're at least 10% of the way toward figuring out how to contain high-level radioactive waste! That brilliant (!) engineering marvel needs to be contained at least ten times longer than this clock is supposed to run.
"Clean! Safe! Too cheap to meter!"
Fusion power would also be cost-effective enough to literally turn CO2 and water back into hydrocarbons, desalinate ocean water for large-scale irrigation, sustainably produce nitrogen-based fertilizer from the air, and otherwise solve virtually every sustainability problem we face or will conceivably face for centuries. (The rest can be solved by harvesting mineral resources from asteroids instead of the Earth's surface, but that problem can be solved through better orbital infrastructure, which turns into an energy problem.)
I don't see why anyone would charge a flat rate for unlimited electricity when you can pay off the enormous debt faster by charging market rate.
Lots of operational expenses are dominated by energy usage. Cryptocurrency mining would only be the start of it...
I assume this remote site will be unguarded? Expect rubbish, empty cans, used condoms etc there. That's assuming nobody does damage to the clock itself, either on purpose (stealing) or not ("what if I put a wood stick inside..."). Some people would start climbing it just because.. and some of them would get hurt or die. Police would come and seal the place.
"It's one day hiking!" -- yes for now. Human settlements expand, and within few years maybe the distance from nearest settlement would be half. Also if the place becomes famous, people would pave ways to it (you know, as tourist attraction).
I guess I'm an old fart.
And go look at how sparse that part of Texas is. It'll be just a little while before any development encroaches on the mountain. The access road above is 50 Km from a village with ~2,000 people.
> The biggest problem for the beating Clock will be the effects of its human visitors. 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?”