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How much wood would a wood clock clock?
December 27, 2009 8:08 PM   Subscribe

A digital clock made of wood and operated by 70 workers for one continuous 24-hour period. "Even though the workers are trying hard to construct every single minute, they are constantly on the verge of failing."
posted by freshwater_pr0n (35 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Metafilter: Constantly on the verge of failing.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dang, I'm not getting through. Is their server made of wood too?
posted by hydrophonic at 8:13 PM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


The internet has shown me its fair share of useless things, and I would say this is one of them.
posted by m0nm0n at 8:47 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


more like, Metafilter: a digital clock made of wood.

are we allowed more than one of those jokes per thread?</small?
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 8:53 PM on December 27, 2009


Well, after looking for more info, I'd say it's an interesting idea but flawed by its arbitrariness. Why not make it easier to operate? If the idea is that the workers fail, why not make it harder? Maybe this was addressed in the video I just watched, but I don't speak Dutch. Perhaps that so many of us have done work that was repetitive and arbitrary is one reason this project doesn't go over so well.

The internet has shown me its fair share of useless things, and I would say this is one of them.

It's given me something interesting to think about while I do some uninteresting work, so it's hardly useless to me.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:09 PM on December 27, 2009


I'm actually quite entertained by this. But then, I'm an inveterate people watcher.
posted by Severian at 9:10 PM on December 27, 2009


Metafilter : are we allowed more than one of those jokes per thread?</small?
posted by mannequito at 9:42 PM on December 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


about time...
posted by the aloha at 9:50 PM on December 27, 2009


I find the wooden mirror more interesting than this wooden clock.
posted by madmethods at 10:04 PM on December 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


They must be really glad when (like in the video) something like a :19 roles around. Super easy to change. I wonder what the hardest change is - double-digit hour changes are probably tough. I think I'd like to see the full video just to see if they get a lot better as it goes on, but I'm guessing it's well thought-out and rehearsed.

It would also add tension with a little clock in the corner, but probably ruin the point.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:08 PM on December 27, 2009


Thanks. I was on the lookout for a base scale to measure web fatuousness.
posted by peacay at 10:15 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


They should probably release a desktop widget that replaces your clock.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:01 PM on December 27, 2009


I'm going to make a guess here: The planning -- and likely the execution -- of this thing involved 1) guys and 2) beer
posted by dancestoblue at 11:23 PM on December 27, 2009


They should build a wooden random number generator for their next project.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:41 AM on December 28, 2009


I find the wooden mirror more interesting

Yes. And it's (slightly creepy) partner, the peg mirror.
posted by woodblock100 at 1:16 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


This article analyses Standard Time in-depth, particularly the final paragraph:

"More pro­foundly, Stan­dard Time involves what I consider to be a triple irony. First, it cre­ates an image of time as the prod­uct of old-​fashioned mate­r­ial labor. This work-​intensive process should be jux­ta­posed to that of the artist him­self, who as the cre­ator of the con­cept, rep­re­sents the ascen­dance in West­ern economies of imma­te­r­ial (intel­lec­tual) labor. Second, in its sim­u­la­tion of the dig­i­tal through the means of hand­i­craft and car­pen­try, there is an obvi­ous ret­ro­grade move­ment: to para­phrase Alexan­dre Koyré, we move from the modern “universe of precision” to the antique “world of more-or-less.” Invok­ing the dig­i­tal lan­guage of exac­ti­tude, For­manek pro­poses a loosely accu­rate and tech­ni­cally clumsy time device. Third, the art­work lit­er­ally trans­forms clock time into the free leisure (rev­o­lu­tion­ary utopia) of artis­tic time. What better way to waste time than through this gra­tu­itous, unpro­duc­tive, and exag­ger­ated labor of mark­ing its pas­sage?"
posted by transporter accident amy at 1:56 AM on December 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


What a waste of calories.
posted by Solomon at 4:23 AM on December 28, 2009


Wooden: trying hard to construct performanceart every single minute.
posted by protorp at 4:34 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wooden you like to own a clock like this?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:09 AM on December 28, 2009


No, I wooden't.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:04 AM on December 28, 2009


pfft - call me when they add a "second hand" count.

kidding aside, this is pretty damn cool.
posted by h0p3y at 6:40 AM on December 28, 2009


I think I love this just a little bit.

After all the talk about making a sort of Harry Potter moving photo thing out of the 7-hour train ride video, I find myself also wanting to make a wall clock out of this running as a video loop. I guess some kind of time-code sync thing would have to be built into the appliance so it would restart the loop at 00:00 every night regardless of whether it had bogged down during the day or whatnot. Still, that would be a quite groovy thing to have on my wall to tell me what time it is. Far more interesting than just about any other clock I could imagine.
posted by hippybear at 6:52 AM on December 28, 2009


Maybe this was addressed in the video I just watched, but I don't speak Dutch.

Not Dutch - Deutsch ie German.
posted by kcds at 6:56 AM on December 28, 2009


Hrm. and then the maddeningly slow website finally loaded the last of the pages, and I see they've already created this product. Hrm. It's a bit $pendy. I may have to ask for a late Xmas gift from someone.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 AM on December 28, 2009


I'd like to pedantically declare that this is not a "digital" clock, but I guess it actually is. But you probably called it that for the wrong reason.
posted by DU at 7:16 AM on December 28, 2009


MetaFilter: a base scale to measure web fatuousness.

I know, I know. Already had enough of these in the thread. But it was too good to pass up.
posted by spitefulcrow at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2009


I'd like to pedantically declare that this is not a "digital" clock, but I guess it actually is. But you probably called it that for the wrong reason.

It is a digital clock in the original sense of the word. It displays numerals (digits) rather than showing the time with clock hands.

"Digital" refers to systems where data takes on discrete values. It has come to have a strong implication of "electronic" and "counts in binary", but these are not requirements.
posted by spitefulcrow at 10:08 AM on December 28, 2009


It displays numerals (digits) rather than showing the time with clock hands.

I don't think that's what the "digital" in "digital clock" means, though. That is, if you trace the etymology of "digital clock" it won't go back to a clock that used digits instead of hands. (Those "flipbook" clocks could be a good test case for this.)

"Digital" refers to systems where data takes on discrete values.

Right and this clock is that as well. A clock with hands, at least those with a continuous movement, doesn't have discrete values.
posted by DU at 10:44 AM on December 28, 2009


if you trace the etymology of "digital clock" it won't go back to a clock that used digits instead of hands.

Or rather, it WILL go back to such a clock, but there will be another clock that used digits instead of hands and was not called "digital". But I could easily be wrong. Humans have an amazing ability to confuse unrelated-but-co-incidental things.
posted by DU at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2009


That was oddly hypnotic. Thank you.
posted by somergames at 4:44 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


"A clock with hands, at least those with a continuous movement, doesn't have discrete values."

Neither does this, really. There are huge portions of the 3min example where the display is reading neither 18:18, 18:19, nor 18:20, but some nonsense in between, like other continuous analog clocks when the hands are between the tick marks.
posted by blackfly at 9:47 PM on December 28, 2009


See also.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:00 PM on December 28, 2009


The earliest "digital clock" in the OED seems to have had both a digital display and a discrete internal state, but it's hard to say for sure from the excerpt alone:
digital, n. and adj. […] Of a timepiece: showing information by means of displayed digits, rather than hands or pointers on a dial-plate.

1958 Science 10 Jan. 98 (advt.) Digital clock covers a 24-hour period and furnishes digital contacts for read-out into printers. 1962 E. BRUTON Dict. Clocks & Watches 60 Digital indication, time indication by figures instead of hands. 1976 Sci. Amer. Jan. 130/3 There are even correcting thumbwheels for feeding in ambient air conditions in order to get standardized results on the digital display; they affect only the fourth digit and beyond. 1980 J. WAINWRIGHT Dominoes ii. 53 The receptionist turned her wrist, consulted her expensive digital watch, then answered her own question. 1996 Chef's Catal. Spring 56/2 Features programmable digital timer and drip interrupt.
By contrast this analog clock with digital display is described in a 1965 patent.

I take offense at the notion that a continuous display whose hands lie between two tick marks is displaying "nonsense." The standard practice is to mentally divide the interval into ten equal parts and read the dial with one digit more precision than the labeled ticks.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 12:58 AM on December 29, 2009


Not Dutch - Deutsch ie German.

The video is in Dutch.
posted by transporter accident amy at 2:17 AM on December 29, 2009


I take offense at the notion that a continuous display whose hands lie between two tick marks is displaying "nonsense." The standard practice is to mentally divide the interval into ten equal parts and read the dial with one digit more precision than the labeled ticks.

Right. With the clock in the video, the times between discrete states are non-times. Whereas on an analog display you can (and are supposed to) read the this intermediate state as information.

By contrast this analog clock with digital display is described in a 1965 patent.

Well well well, that's very interesting. Those are the clocks I was saying were my test case and while I predicted it correctly (they are "analog clocks with a digital display" not "digital clocks") I think my overall thesis is still in the balance. The OED seems to be saying that "digital" in re: clocks refers to the display. OTOH, I was doing a patent search for that flip clock to see what it was called then and I found numerous "analog-to-digital" patents from the 50s. So clearly by that time "digital" at least to a technical person meant "discrete" rather than "composed of digits".
posted by DU at 4:18 AM on December 29, 2009


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