"The Clock of the Long Now"
Reading history and reviews
Finished on 4th September 2006I got this book after reading about it in the context of "pace-layering" mentioned in Ambient Findability. The Long Now book is essentially a collection of short chapters discussing various aspects of taking a very long (i.e. of the order of millenia) view of the future and the past, and how having such a long view might change how we do things in the present. Essentially, things look different when your perspective is hundreds or thousands of years hence.
A couple of things stick in my mind - for example, many of the ideas about the design of the clock reflect what one might consider to be good software design. Or the idea of a disc which turns so slowly, that you could make your mark on and then wait a lifetime for it to complete a single revolution. Another example is the idea of a library to last for thousands of years, where past decisions and cultures could be re-examined - Kyle and I saw an exhibition about newspapers at the British Library which hinted at how history remembers things very differently from how they appeared at the time (or even just forgets them).
I think that the Long Now Foundation's ideas are really interesting, and you can visit their website at http://www.longnow.org/ to see other projects that they are undertaking.