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Stephen Hawking Unveils "Time Eater" Clock

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the brief-history-of-eating dept.

Technology 198

gyrogeerloose writes "Stephen Hawking unveiled an unsettling clock in Cambridge on Friday. Designed by John Taylor — a British horologist and inventor whose thermostatic switch is incorporated in millions of electric appliances worldwide — the clock was conceived as a tribute to another British inventor, John Harrison. Harrison invented the grasshopper escapement in the early 18th Century, which resulted in extremely accurate mechanical time keeping and was instrumental in solving the Longitude Problem. Taylor's clock, which in entirely mechanical in operation but has no hands, uses a fearsome-looking 'demon grasshopper' as its escapement. 'I... wanted to depict that time is a destroyer — once a minute is gone you can't get it back' Taylor said. 'That's why my grasshopper is not a Disney character. He is a ferocious beast that over the seconds has his tongue lolling out, his jaws opening, then on the 59th second he gulps down time.' It also (purposely) only tells correct time once every five minutes. An excellent video of the clock in action, with an explanation of its workings by its inventor, is available on YouTube."

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beautiful but (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087907)

there has to be some sort of mechanism, a construct if you will, that keeps this clock going. it can not all be eating itself for it would not exist if it would. then how is it keeping time while eating itself? i find it hard to understand

Re:beautiful but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087965)

SECOND POST!

I personally think that time is an illusion.

Lunch time doubly so.

I read that in a Reader's Digest magazine.

Nice, hey?

Re:beautiful but (3, Insightful)

justdaven (1238962) | about 6 years ago | (#25088851)

This is Douglas Adams. A quote from Hitchhiker's guide...

Re:beautiful but (3, Insightful)

fucket (1256188) | about 6 years ago | (#25088307)

My best guess would be THE TIME CUBE

The human Cubic who rotates a 4 corner stage family rotating metamorphic lifetime.

Earth is composed of opposite hemispheres which rotate in opposite directions - equal to a zero value existence (plus & minus). As entity, the opposite hemispheres cancel out. Earth exist as 4 - 90 degree opposite corner quadrants, but not as a 360 degree circle. Earth is Cubic opposites, nothing as circle.

And, thus, the clock keeps going.

Re:beautiful but (3, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | about 6 years ago | (#25089257)

Only on /. could you be modded Insightful for citing Time Cube.

Re:beautiful but (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088897)

Just because it's been blinged up doesn't make the underlying mechanical mechanism any less impressive. Who says science can't be beautiful? The bank of LEDs just provide a constant light source; the light show at the front (which could be mistaken for electronics) is achieved using vernier slits and lenses - that's genius.

-Ozbird http://slashdot.org/~ozbird [slashdot.org] (I've been naughty and pulled this to the top, but the ill-informed comments drove me to it) Only really seeing it in person will let you appreciate how much there is too this, and how much psudo-randomness and unexpected behaviour has been incorporated. Realising that what looks like a computer generated light show is mechanically produced is incredible.

Awesome (4, Insightful)

mazarin5 (309432) | about 6 years ago | (#25087919)

That's just awesome. It looks like a grasshopper walking along the top. Lights spiral out from the center, until it reaches the creature, and then it starts again.

But it says that it doesn't have hands - it has LEDs all around it, which displays the time. I think that's pretty much the same thing, no?

Re:Awesome (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25087955)

it does look wicked-cool. Hollywood could make a whole movies based just on that monster and the "time-eater" concept. If only that queer-looking brain-monster at the end of The Watchmen looked nearly as cool as that!

Only gripe is that it looks very out of place on that gaudy-looking gold face.

Re:Awesome (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088039)

Hollywood could make a whole movies based just on that monster and the "time-eater" concept.

Somewhat done. [imdb.com]

Re:Awesome (1)

morari (1080535) | about 6 years ago | (#25088553)

Nah. That film was just about a bunch of whiny people wandering around an empty airport for three hours.

Re:Awesome (1)

Per Wigren (5315) | about 6 years ago | (#25089309)

Well, I do wish that they had used this clock bug instead of those embarrassingly ugly mutated flying pacmans who looked like they came straight from a Nintendo 64 game. A perfect way to completely ruin an otherwise pretty mediocre film and put in on the worst-films-ever-list.

Re:Awesome (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | about 6 years ago | (#25088087)

It also seems really fucking loud. I'm sure that's going to be nice for the students with rooms opposite.

Re:Awesome (5, Informative)

Zwicky (702757) | about 6 years ago | (#25088827)

But it says that it doesn't have hands - it has LEDs all around it... I think that's pretty much the same thing, no?

Sort of. The inventor is still accurate in saying that it doesn't have hands though ;) (& if you get too close to that grasshopper neither will you!)

The bit I find interesting is the mechanism for the LEDs. Because of my way of thinking I had assumed that the LEDs would be controlled programmatically. It is actually a clever entirely mechanical implementation using vernier slits (3:42 in the Youtube video). I find it fascinating. I'll admit to having never heard of them so it has that whole "woah!" appeal for me.

Besides, I'm not into bling but this thing is ostentatiously cool and doesn't IMHO look half bad. I'd love to own one if it wasn't so loud as to annoy the neighbors. Oh and if it wasn't one of a kind and I had that kind of money to hand of course.

Some people don't seem to like it and that's fair enough. All the same I find it altogether novel.

Once again, in ENGLISH Please ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087925)

What language is this nerd-speak?

Re:Once again, in ENGLISH Please ! (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 6 years ago | (#25088767)

You ignorant clod! As anyone from England can tell you, he's speaking in "Northern"!! :P

uhm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087933)

keep the steampunk on boingboin and off of slashdot , thank you

1m GBP? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 6 years ago | (#25087949)

For that much they could have at least made it a self-winding automatic. jeebus.

It's art. (-1, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | about 6 years ago | (#25087957)

Ok, so it's a piece of art of dubious merit. Neat. Why's it on Slashdot?

Re:It's art. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088239)

Well duh, after being submitted to digg and reddit about a hundred times, the people who just copy and paste entries from there to slashdot would follow suit. It just takes longer for slashdot to post the queue.

Because /. Nerds Worship Hawking as God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088339)

They worship Hawking because Hawking believes in time travel. Slashdot nerds love all that Star-Trek physics crap. ahahaha...

Re:It's art. (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#25088341)

I dunno. I'm not one for the idle crap, but I kind of like this.

I suppose it's the same reason /. discusses Anathem. Not exactly pertaining to linux or science, but still an interesting bit of info likely to appeal to people interested in nerdy stuff.

Re:It's art. (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#25088449)

News for the tasteless, kitsch that matters.

Re:It's art. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 6 years ago | (#25088567)

Because it looks like one of those timepieces in Predator vs Alien, and some people are worried it's going to explode?

STEVEN?? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087973)

I know he might not be Paris Hilton, but he should be here on slashdot. It's STEPHEN HAWKING.

Hawking Is a Time Travel-Believing Crackpot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088253)

Steven Hawking might as well be Paris Hilton. He believes that time travel is possible because (he claims) it is not contradicted by Einstein's General Relativity and yet, it is well known that nothing can move in spacetime because time is not a variable.

There is no dynamics within space-time itself: nothing ever moves therein; nothing happens; nothing changes. [...] In particular, one does not think of particles as "moving through" space-time, or as "following along" their world-lines. Rather, particles are just "in" space-time, once and for all, and the world-line represents, all at once the complete life history of the particle.

From "Relativity from A to B" by Dr. Robert Geroch, U. of Chicago

Note also that Sir Karl Popper compared spacetime to Parmenides' myth of the unchanging block universe in which nothing ever happens and which, if we add another dimension, becomes Einstein's block universe (in which, too, nothing ever happens, since everything is, four-dimensionally speaking, determined and laid down from the beginning). Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations

In other words, contrary to what Steven Hawking claims, there is no time travel and general relativity does not allow it. Steven is a true blue crackpot, a little con artist in a wheelchair whose ex-wife felt that her duty as Hawking's wife was to remind him every day that he was not God. I'll say. It's hard to be God when you're making shit up that don't exist while you're all crumpled up in a wheelchair. If you even believe in the possibility of time travel, you are a crackpot. Steven is a full-blown time travel crackpot [hawking.org.uk] among other things. ahahaha....

Nothing Can Move in Spacetime [rebelscience.org]

Re:Hawking Is a Time Travel-Believing Crackpot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088481)

You can mod it down as much as you want but it's the truth. Truth hurts, doesn't it? ahahaha...

Re:Hawking Is a Time Travel-Believing Crackpot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088613)

"Steven Hawking might as well be Paris Hilton. He believes that time travel is possible because (he claims) it is not contradicted by Einstein's General Relativity"! Omg, just like Paris Hilton!

Re:Hawking Is a Time Travel-Believing Crackpot (1)

spazdor (902907) | about 6 years ago | (#25089315)

AC, I don't understand your use of the word "move" in the context of a spacetime object. When looking at Einstein's block universe, all "time travel" means is that a particular world-line is not a monoparametric function of t.

who is it (3, Informative)

sveard (1076275) | about 6 years ago | (#25087979)

Steven Hawking? or Stephen Hawking??? I've never heard of a Steven Hawking

Re:who is it (4, Funny)

mazarin5 (309432) | about 6 years ago | (#25088077)

He's Stephen Hawking's non-union equivalent.

Re:who is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088331)

No, you're thinking of Señor Hawkingo. Steven Hawking is the domestic-equivalent of the British version; buy American!

Re:who is it (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088131)

It also says "John Tayor". The man's name is "John Taylor".

Re:who is it (5, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | about 6 years ago | (#25088385)

Sshhh... You'll wake the editors.

Re:who is it (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 6 years ago | (#25088395)

Steven Hawking is is a only child who grow up in an orphanage. He desperately wants everyone's approval so he spends his days napping in a wheelchair to pass himself off as Stephen Hawking so he can get the admiration he thinks he deserves.

Re:who is it (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | about 6 years ago | (#25088979)

It's all the matter that slowly escapes over time when Stephen Hawking gets sucked into a black hole.

It works, I just watched some of the video (5, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 6 years ago | (#25087983)

That is one minute of my life I'll never get back.

Re:It works, I just watched some of the video (1)

dataninja (1368311) | about 6 years ago | (#25088119)

Reading this just cost me 5 seconds of my life I will never get back.

Re:It works, I just watched some of the video (2, Funny)

menkhaura (103150) | about 6 years ago | (#25089271)

How much did it cost to post the reply? Meh, I'm going to bed.

Re:It works, I just watched some of the video (1)

willyhill (965620) | about 6 years ago | (#25089287)

You can always sue the demonic grasshopper and try to get it back.

Let us know how it goes...

Just a clock (3, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about 6 years ago | (#25087991)

Misleading description...from TFA:

The author of A Brief History of Time was guest of honour when the unique clock, which has no hands or numbers, was revealed at Corpus Christi College.

Yeah, so the only think Hawking had to do with this clock is: he was a guest at its unveiling.

But the clock is only accurate once every five minutes - the rest of the time the lights are simply for decoration.

And the clock itself really isn't much of a clock. The only mildly interesting thing about it is the "time eating" grasshopper that travels around the outside.

Re:Just a clock (1)

popmaker (570147) | about 6 years ago | (#25088823)

Hawking is a big name and he knows it. He probably made a point of being there to help Taylor out - a little bit of positive publicity.

And if Hawking thinks this is cool enough to promote it, then it's probably wothwhile checking it out.

:( Localized video........ (1)

Slugster (635830) | about 6 years ago | (#25087993)

Is there a work-around here? I wanna see....
~

Why is this news? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088003)

Um, what the shit? Stephen Hawking has nothing to do with this idiots shitty clock. There's -nothing- even remotely interesting about this pile of shit. You realize this is just an ugly clock with lights instead of hour hands, right? Get this crap off the front page....

Relativity (1)

dnwq (910646) | about 6 years ago | (#25088011)

John Taylor freely switches between general relativity and philosophical relativity. Don't watch if you get easily irked by such musing.

Re:Relativity (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#25088061)

So did Einstein. The quote about time spent with a pretty girl compared to sitting on a hot stove was his answer when someone asked him to explain relativity. Not as good as his explanation of the wireless telegraph (imagine a cat stretched between two cities. When you pull the tail at one end, it makes a noise at the other. Wireless telegraph is like that, but with not cat).

Magnificent (1, Insightful)

Mortiss (812218) | about 6 years ago | (#25088027)

It is just like in the "old days" when the clocks were made by artisan-watchmakers and could be afforded by only the elite few. Something akin to Nuremberg eggs from the 16th century. http://www.love-watches.com/Invention-Watch.htm [love-watches.com]

Technology? (1, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 6 years ago | (#25088033)

Who tagged this "technology"? This is 100% art. It uses nothing more technologically noteworthy than a bunch of blue LEDs and a grasshopper escapement. The irritating blue LED has been annoying us as we try to sleep for the better part of a decade, and the grasshopper escapement is almost 3 centuries old. Personally, I think blue LEDs are generally the sign of an INFERIOR designer. Too many things nowadays have bright flashing blue LEDs for no other apparent reason other than "look! we have bright blue LEDs now!"

Re:Technology? (2)

east coast (590680) | about 6 years ago | (#25088153)

Too many things nowadays have bright flashing blue LEDs for no other apparent reason other than "look! we have bright blue LEDs now!"

Uh, maybe they use them since they are so visible? Maybe the idea of a clock face or any other LED panel is to make it visible without having to walk right up to it to read it?

Re:Technology? (2)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 6 years ago | (#25088273)

Note the difference between "too many" and "all". In instances such as this clock, a bright blue LED has a purpose. My cell phone, however, does NOT need a blue LED flashing a bright spotlight on my bedroom ceiling every 6 seconds to tell me bluetooth is turned on.

And for that matter, blue is not the only bright LED available.

Re:Technology? (1)

east coast (590680) | about 6 years ago | (#25088881)

Note the difference between "too many" and "all".

Your logic behind this statement? You're the one who said too many. If it were all wouldn't it still be too many?

My cell phone, however, does NOT need a blue LED flashing a bright spotlight on my bedroom ceiling every 6 seconds to tell me bluetooth is turned on.

There are multiple ways to approach this: turn off the alert (if possible),don't buy the product if that's such a big deal to you, turn the device in such a fashion that it doesn't illuminate your whole room.

I have a phone that does this anytime I get an e-mail. I get about 15 e-mails in the same hours that I sleep. I have taken to just turning the phone over and I can't see the flash any longer.

Re:Technology? (5, Insightful)

sa1lnr (669048) | about 6 years ago | (#25088209)

I'd call it craftmanship, engineering and art all rolled up into one.

Re:Technology? (3, Funny)

MisterBlueSky (1213526) | about 6 years ago | (#25088873)

I'd call it a yellow clock.

Re:Technology? (4, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 6 years ago | (#25088325)

"This is 100% art. It uses nothing more technologically noteworthy than a bunch of blue LEDs and a grasshopper escapement."

Because a mechanical timepiece isn't "technology?" Or does it only qualify as "technology" if it's less than ten years old?

"and the grasshopper escapement is almost 3 centuries old."

Does it no longer work? Has the warranty expired?

Without external communications capabilities (e.g. WWVB or NTP), I guarantee you that this clock keeps more accurate time than any timepiece you've ever owned.

Re:Technology? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about 6 years ago | (#25088393)

Does it no longer work? Has the warranty expired?

It still works, but I think it's fair to say that it no longer qualifies as "News for Nerds".

Re:Technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088497)

It would be news for nerds if the grasshopper escapement was controlling the clock.

But, I fear it is just decoration. The real timekeeping is electronic.

you would probably prerfer news for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089033)

with no imagination

Your guarantee... (1, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about 6 years ago | (#25088427)

I've got a Rb oscillator (and Efratom FRS, easily found for less than $200), which I will guarantee is much more accurate than any mechanical timekeeper. Stability of +- 1e-10/yr., which is better than 3 ms the first year, 6, the second, etc.

There's nothing in the article to indicate what it uses as a timebase, except a comment about an "electric motor." AC line frequency, the same as my bedroom alarm clock? European line frequency can vary by seconds per day [utwente.nl] .

Exactly what was your "guarantee," because I think you owe me.

Re:Your guarantee... (4, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 6 years ago | (#25088587)

"There's nothing in the article to indicate what it uses as a timebase, except a comment about an "electric motor." AC line frequency, the same as my bedroom alarm clock?"

The base is the grasshopper escapement, the entire point of the clock, what it commemorates, and what the article is all about. The motor is used to wind the clock's spring, which is released from tension at a steady rate by the swinging of the escapement.

And because you didn't RTFA in your effort to be a smart-ass, you've come out looking like a dumb-ass for not understanding the concept of a pendulum clock. This right here is an indicator of why the "technology" tag is appropriate for this: people here (such as yourself) don't know how it works.

Like a fool... (1, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about 6 years ago | (#25089095)

you jump to conclusions. Yes, it has an escapement. An escapement is just a mechanism to link the movement to something with periodicity. No, there isn't anything in the article to indicate that it is pendulum driven, or (as I said) exactly what it uses as a timebase.

Escapement timepieces without pendulums are common (e.g. most any mechanical wristwatch, which uses a balance wheel), people have corrected pendulums with atomic sources (typically using magnetics to delay or accelerate the pendulum).

It is actually you who are playing the smart ass, since you're obviously unaware of the full range of timekeeping mechanisms.

Re:Your guarantee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088959)

A sucker and his $200 are soon parted...

Re:Technology? (1)

neonsignal (890658) | about 6 years ago | (#25088999)

Yes. And the grasshopper escapement is not commonly used, so a contemporary clock that displays this ingenious mechanism is of technical interest.

Re:Technology? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 6 years ago | (#25089255)

Without external communications capabilities (e.g. WWVB or NTP), I guarantee you that this clock keeps more accurate time than any timepiece you've ever owned.

Citation needed. Tone down the karma-whoring hyperboles to yourselves and stick to what you KNOW to be a fact.

Re:Technology? (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 6 years ago | (#25089305)

I saw a documentary about John Harrison, what he did was just that, making a precise clock no matter the conditions it is in. By using wood, of all things! This carpenter son, just created the thing that was needed to know the exact relative location of any point on earth. Quite a respectable feat by this nerd-avant-la-lettre, and that honor is done to him certainly belongs on slashdot.

Re:Technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088419)

Right, it can't be technology because the grass-hopper clock movement wasn't developed recently. I'm glad you cleared that up for us. According to your "logic", I guess that computers aren't technology either. They were developed in the middle of the last century, over fifty years ago. No more posts on computers on Slashdot!!! Hooray!!!

Re:Technology? (1)

Fred Foobar (756957) | about 6 years ago | (#25088505)

Personally, I think blue LEDs are generally the sign of an INFERIOR designer. Too many things nowadays have bright flashing blue LEDs for no other apparent reason other than "look! we have bright blue LEDs now!"

Hear, hear!

I would like to avoid buying any electronics that have blue LED's, but too many things have them these days that it kind of reduces the number of other options. My Sansa media player (a Christmas gift) has a blue scroll wheel, but I disabled it in software (thank you, Rockbox!). I also have some hand-me-down computer speakers, one of which has a bright blue LED power indicator, so I opened it up and put some opaque tape over the LED; now the power indicator still lights up but not as brightly. If I were more ambitious I would unsolder the blue LED and replace it with a good ol' red or green LED.

Re:Technology? (1)

Nux'd (1002189) | about 6 years ago | (#25088537)

AFAIK if it does something other than look pretty, it's not art. Also note that this is not your usual LED job. Those are slits in the mechanism that could be just as easily illuminated by candles from behind.

Re:Technology? (3, Informative)

ozbird (127571) | about 6 years ago | (#25088597)

Who tagged this "technology"? This is 100% art.

Just because it's been blinged up doesn't make the underlying mechanical mechanism any less impressive. Who says science can't be beautiful?

Yes, the LEDs are blue - but what other colour would you combine with gold? The bank of LEDs just provide a constant light source; the light show at the front (which could be mistaken for electronics) is achieved using vernier slits and lenses - that's genius.

Re:Technology? (5, Insightful)

adisakp (705706) | about 6 years ago | (#25088679)

Who tagged this "technology"? This is 100% art.

I disagree -- this is definitely Technology as well as Art. There's no reason it has to be only one or the other. Besides, the ancient Greeks felt all technology was art. The word "technology" itself comes from the Greek root "techne" which means art or skill.

Not all technology is computers and transistors. Technology has existed and improved throughout the ages, from the ability to make fire and work with tools to the creation of the wheel. Clocks and geared mechanisms certainly make for interesting technology from large computers such as Babbage's Difference Engine [cnet.com] to portable devices such as the Antikythera mechanism. [guardian.co.uk]

It would be possible to even have "modern" technology without transistors although perhaps it wouldn't be the same as the high tech steam powered science of the Steampunk Genre. [wikipedia.org]

some of the effects are technically interesting (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 years ago | (#25089161)

I mean, fundamentally, a giant mechanical clock with a large escapement on the outside functioning as both sculpture and working escapement is kind of cool, technologically.

Some of the variations that make this an art piece are also interesting technologically, though I haven't seen them all explained, mostly the ways it varies from operating in a purely predictable way "like clockwork". For example, the pendulum sometimes appears to catch slightly, the time lags backwards, then races ahead, etc.

nice design (1)

floatingrunner (621481) | about 6 years ago | (#25088047)

helloooooo steampunk! needs more clockwork (no pun intended) and gearwork...

Oblig. (1)

srussia (884021) | about 6 years ago | (#25088059)

"When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper, then one minute has gone by."

LEDs (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#25088067)

He blew it. He sould at least have used a carbon-arc and hundreds of mirrors and lenses.

Re:LEDs (1)

mrbobjoe (830606) | about 6 years ago | (#25088641)

I was at least pleased that the lights aren't electronically controlled, all just showing through slits in the various wheels. But yeah, the particular choice of lighting isn't too great. Though it does take 60 W...

Re:LEDs (3, Informative)

duffel (779835) | about 6 years ago | (#25089099)

He blew it. He sould at least have used a carbon-arc and hundreds of mirrors and lenses.

Would you find solace in the fact that the LEDs are always illuminated, and only let light through when slits in a wheel align?

Re:LEDs (3, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | about 6 years ago | (#25089269)

No. Best would be hundreds of oil lamps. Gas lamps might be acceptable as long as they used coal gas. Limelight might be acceptable.

obama? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088073)

who woulda thunk that nigger was a liar?

Damn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088113)

...I thought it was going to demonstrate some sort of amazing breakthrough in physics.

Talk about a time eater, this post just ate my five minutes.

Jim Henson would be jealous (4, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 years ago | (#25088117)

This clock would have fit right in with the sets for The Dark Crystal.

I'm just disappointed... (3, Funny)

nuttycom (1016165) | about 6 years ago | (#25088235)

... that the inventor isn't named "Reg"

Nice timing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088251)

Ok about 10 seconds after listening to Captian Picard tell Will Riker that someone said that time was a destroyer, but he believes time is a companion that goes with us (Star Trek Generations). I take a look at /. and look what i see.

"I [...] wanted to depict that time is a destroyer â" once a minute is gone you can't get it back".

Whoop-de-shit. (-1, Troll)

marxmarv (30295) | about 6 years ago | (#25088321)

I mean, really. If I want low-quality avant-garde nominally technological art pieces, I'll go to Makezine. That's why I don't.

"Time Eater" (2, Funny)

mcbutterbuns (1005301) | about 6 years ago | (#25088335)

Come on, this is slashdot. Do we need to articles about how to waste even more time?

one every five minutes?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088349)

Nothing in the video or the story indicates that the clock is only accurate once every five minutes. Where does that claim come from?

In fact, it appears that the clock is constantly accurate just like any "standard" clock.

Fry hole (1)

nickthisname (630860) | about 6 years ago | (#25088383)

Damn, I remember when this joint had drunken robot jokes. Damn kids! Get off my lawn!

Salad fingers? (1)

Joao (155665) | about 6 years ago | (#25088387)

Is it just me, or does the guy the the Youtube video sound exactly like Salad Fingers?

W00T Fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088415)

clearly become

Only a chauvinist would say this clock isn't tech. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088473)

It does appear to use blue leds - But there is no circuitry to control their 'flashing'.

This clock is a masterpiece of mechanical engineering.

The time is displayed with the lights by rotating a series of annular overlapping disks which have slots in them. The slots are precisely engineered in a "vernier" fashion, so they don't all line up at once, but only as the clock very subtly moves. There isn't a "seconds" hand, rather there is a "hand" that seems to rotate around the entire clock once per second, and it purely shows the rotation of the fastest outer annulus, with which the grasshopper escarpment engages.

The thing is, if this were purely "art" then it wouldn't work.

You're forgetting that all technologies are "art".

The defining feature that makes such things be labelled as tech rather than art is that tech works.

Tech doesn't just refer to "electronic". In fact if this clock were electronic, it would be one hell of a lot less impressive.

This clock works, (perhaps with a "bug" or two...) therefore it is tech. It doesn't "cop out" and use cheap and easy electronics, therefore it is impressive. It's designer shows he can make mechanical assemblies with such precision that it's dynamic motion can be used to keep time - a skill which is becoming rapidly lost with our current state of cheap electronics from China.

Is is Important Tech? Perhaps not, unless some circumstance conspires to require precise timekeeping in say an environment where electronics dare not go. Maybe some day we might need clocks that work near a lot of high energy ionising radiation, who knows.

Unfortauntely I just missed it (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 6 years ago | (#25088525)

I was annoyed that I forgot about this. I even walked about one street away from the unveiling near the time but I just wasn't thinking.

I'm going to take a look at it Monday on my way to work. It looks quite cool in the videos I've seen.

Sorry if you want to know about time eaters (4, Funny)

Orion Blastar (457579) | about 6 years ago | (#25088527)

you actually can get the minutes back by reversing time [skybooksusa.com] .

There are real time eaters out there, they exist beyond three dimensions and exist in several dimensional space. If you saw how they really look, you'd go insane like I did when I first saw them.

First learn about super strings [superstringtheory.com] and then we can discuss how the universe and multiverse actually work. Hawking got a lot of things wrong, the Hawking paradox was but one of them [newscientist.com] and the information and matter and energy does not simply disappear, it ends up in a different dimension. One you Terrans have not discovered yet. But keep guessing, you'll find it eventually and then learn how to reverse time.

do you sence the Irony (1)

Ryogo (1303193) | about 6 years ago | (#25088529)

do you get the Irony. The article said every minute passes is a minute you won't get back. this just took a minute out of my life. oh, the Irony... it kills us all

The proper owner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088547)

This belongs in Clive Barker's house.

Why is it only accurate every 5 minutes? (1)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | about 6 years ago | (#25088617)

Read the article, but don't quite understand why someone would make a clock that is so inaccurate?

It also (purposely) only tells correct time... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | about 6 years ago | (#25088665)

...once every 5 minutes? Pray tell, why would that be? Not being new here, I made a valiant effort to not RTFAs, only to be drawn in by this teaser and succumb to the wiliest of temptations. Yes, I RTFAs, but I am no more enlightened than before...

We're sorry, this video is no longer available. (0)

this great guy (922511) | about 6 years ago | (#25088715)

I am really pissed of: Youtube has removed the video. Anyone has a mirror ? How come it always happen to me. 80% of the Youtube videos people send are taken down before i have time to watch them.

Re:We're sorry, this video is no longer available. (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | about 6 years ago | (#25089003)

It's working for me. Are you using http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHO1JTNPPOU [youtube.com] ?

Re:We're sorry, this video is no longer available. (1)

this great guy (922511) | about 6 years ago | (#25089139)

Bizarely the video works from one of my other machines running Firefox 2.0.0.14, but not from my machine running Firefox 1.5.0.13. I tracked down the pb to a 403 Forbidden reply received from a *.googlevideo.com server for the URL http://v21.cache.googlevideo.com/get_video?video_id=pHO1JTNPPOU&origin=mia-v232.mia.youtube.com&signature= [googlevideo.com] ... Now go figure why one gets a 403 while the other streams the video just fine. I don't have time to debug youtube's website and their architecture make it difficult anyway (see the signature=xxx parmeter in the query string).

Re:We're sorry, this video is no longer available. (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#25089221)

They have some of the craziest URLs on YouTube that I have seen. I can only imagine the huge nightmare of that design.

Re:We're sorry, this video is no longer available. (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#25089029)

I put a copy of the video here [ipal.org] for you for a while. Hurry up and get it before that server gets slashdotted.

Antique clocks (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | about 6 years ago | (#25089237)

If you like that clock you might also like antique pendulum wall clocks. I got into them a few years ago. There is just something about full mechanical clocks driven by weights. Ebay is a good starting place, something like these: http://tiny.cc/V5orM [tiny.cc] http://tiny.cc/vRuF7 [tiny.cc] http://tiny.cc/tFp5h [tiny.cc]

Faster than the speed of light (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#25089259)

Notice how the intersection of the slots "moves" at a rate faster than the actual movement of the material having the slots. Now imagine something containing those slots moving at a speed approaching the speed of light relative to another stationary thing like it. You are located near the end the slot intersections are approaching. But from your perspective, the slot intersections would appear to be going away from you because the nearer intersection events arrive first.

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