News & Opinion | April 29, 2020 6:36 am

Jeff Bezos’s Quarantine Project? Building a Giant Clock Inside of a Mountain.

You know, just normal, non-supervillainy stuff

bezos clock
This isn't the Bezos clock. This clock is just here to represent the abstract concept of time. You understand.
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

We all have our little quarantine projects to distract us from the waking nightmare that is daily life right now. But while some of us are baking banana bread or giving ourselves haircuts, Jeff Bezos is passing the time by building a giant clock in a mountain.

Engineers and mechanics are currently hard at work constructing the Clock of the Long Now inside a mountain in West Texas, Popular Mechanics reported. The clock, which will tell time for 10,000 years, began in the imagination of computer scientist Danny Hillis back in 1986. According to a 2011 Wired article, the project first got serious around 2005, when Hillis and longtime friend Bezos “started making plans to build the clock on Bezos’ property.”

Construction reportedly began in 2018, and according to Bezos, the finished product will be a 500-foot-tall, all-mechanical “symbol for long-term thinking.” Powered “by day/night thermal cycles” and “synchronized at solar noon,” the clock will tick once a year and and chime just once a millennium.

Bezos reportedly envisions the clock as a reminder that the far future does, in fact, exist, which frankly feels a little optimistic for our current apocalyptic times, but okay. In the meantime, don’t hold your breath waiting for that reminder: the website for the clock lists no timeline for construction, but you can sign up for a mailing list to let you know when the clock is finished “many years into the future.”

Unsurprisingly, not everyone is totally sold on Bezos’s latest project.

“Another vanity project? Why not plant a forest that will survive a 10,000 years rather [than] a clock which will mean nothing, as our planet will not be habitable in 10,000 years,” tweeted one user, making an excellent point. “What is it with these so called philanthropists?”

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