The Clock Of The Long Now


These are the principles that Danny Hillis used in the initial stages of designing a 10,000-Year Clock. These are generally good principles for designing anything to last a long time.

  • Longevity: With occasional maintenance, the clock should reasonably be expected to display the correct time for the next 10,000 years.
  • Maintainability: The clock should be maintainable with bronze-age technology.
  • Transparency: It should be possible to determine the operational principles of the clock by close inspection.
  • Evolvability: It should be possible to improve the clock with time.
  • Scalability: It should be possible to build working clock models using the same design from table-top to monumental size.


Guide for Designers

  1. Rather than solving problems from scratch, adapt other people’s solutions, and then give them credit.
  2. Design for materials and components which are reasonably cheap to buy, low-carbon and fully recyclable or biodegradable.
  3. Design structures which can be assembled with minimal formal skill or training, and without the use of power tools.
  4. WikiHouses should be capable of being habitable throughout the year, and as efficient as possible in the use of energy and water.
  5. Design in such a way as to offer maximum provision for the safety, security and health (both mental and physical) of the users at all stages of the structure’s life.
  6. As a general rule, design for the climate, culture, economy and legal / planning framework in which you live, and you know best. Others will then be able to adapt the design to suit their environment.
  7. Share your work as much and as openly as possible, it might come back better. At very least you’ll have contributed to solving a common problem.
  8. “It is easier to ship recipes than cakes and biscuits” — John Maynard Keynes
  9. Design to dismantle. The easier it is to dismantle structures or replace individual parts, the better.
  10. Design for mistakes. Try to design components which either make it impossible for the assembler to get it wrong or are designed in such a way that it doesn’t matter if they do.


The Ten Chindōgu Tenets

  1. A Chindogu cannot be for real use.
  2. A Chindogu must exist.
  3. Inherent in every Chindogu is the spirit of anarchy.
  4. Chindogu are tools for everyday life.
  5. Chindogu are not for sale.
  6. Humour must not be the sole reason for creating Chindogu.
  7. Chindogu are not propaganda.
  8. Chindogu are never taboo.
  9. Chindogu cannot be patented.
  10. Chindogu are without prejudice.