Re: The Long Now

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Fri Mar 24 2000 - 08:31:10 MST

Hal Finney wrote:
>What we need is, prompted by Robin's file naming convention, a Clock of
>the Long Grow. It should be an artifact that does give us a long term
>view, but that view is not one of a static structure which stays around
>for 10000 years. It should show us that the one constant in life is
>change, and that we must expect changes tomorrow that exceed those we
>have had in the past. ...
>The point would be to create an artifact which only made sense if the
>future was one of unimaginable power and wealth.

A frozen head seems to me the obvious thing to make this last statement.
Imagine renting a small "shop window" on something like Time Square NY,
with dewar holding a frozen head, and and lights illuminating it
via a dewar window. Quite a fashion statement, eh? (Maybe rent out
the space next to it for a mannequin wearing whatever futuristic dress
some store wants to show? You *know* people will look at it.)

Maybe next to it you could have a large "sands of time" clock. It is
in two sections, a large container above filled with sand, and a large
container below mostly empty. Over each ten year period, it mimics
that data I used on the history of humans on earth from one million
years ago to today. So up until new year's eve there are just a few
grains on the bottom of the bottom container, then over the last
few days, hours and minutes the sand falls increasingly fast. As the
ball falls from where ever it falls, the bulk of the sand falls in
one big "fwump".

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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