When you’re the richest person in the world, you really have to look for ways to spend your vast fortune. That’s the only reason we can come up with for why Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who’s worth an estimated $140 billion, is building a 10,000-year mechanical clock inside a mountain.
The clock is known as the “Clock of the Long Now” — an undeniably awesome name — and its inventor is an MIT scientist named Danny Hillis. Hillis first conceived of the clock back in 1986, and apparently all he needed to bring it to fruition was to meet a man with unlimited funds. Enter Bezos, who is constructing the clock on his own West Texas property and has already spent a whopping $42 million on the project.
The clock itself will take up multiple rooms inside the blasted-out mountain, and when completed will stand 500 feet tall. It will run for 10,000 years partly by conserving its energy: the clock ticks just once per year and sounds a chime every thousand years. According to Bezos, the all-mechanical clock will be “powered by day/night thermal cycles” and “synchronized at solar noon,” whatever that means. The project is said to represent long-term thinking, and that makes sense because it’s going to take an unknown number of years to build. Construction actually began back in 2018, but there is no estimated end to the build, though it’s expected to take several years.
Installation has begun—500 ft tall, all mechanical, powered by day/night thermal cycles, synchronized at solar noon, a symbol for long-term thinking—the #10000YearClock is coming together thx to the genius of Danny Hillis, Zander Rose & the whole Clock team! Enjoy the video. pic.twitter.com/FYIyaUIbdJ
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) February 20, 2018
It’s tough to fathom just how much money Bezos has, so let’s put it in perspective. Let’s say you’re invincible and were hired to build the Great Pyramid of Giza in the year 2580 BC. To complete this task, you were paid a rate of $48,672 in 2020 dollars — the current average American yearly salary — but you were paid that per day. You somehow managed to keep this job well after the project was completed, and you’ve maintained your current pay rate up to today. That’s 1,680,150 days worked, earning $48,672 per day. If you never spent a penny you earned over those 4,600 years, you would be worth just under $82 billion today, meaning you’d have to work another 3,263 years before you caught up to Bezos. That’s a total of 7,863 years you’d have to work before you matched Bezos’ wealth, which is just absurd, but hey, at least his clock would be able to track your entire career!
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