Exponential Binary Clock Countdown
April 3, 2014 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Based on the Wheat and Chessboard problem, the Chess Board Clock is "a binary clock counting down 2 to the 63rd power in hundredths of a second". The first few squares go by super fast (a non-seizure mode is available) while the last square won't be reached for over 2 billion years. [via mefi projects]
posted by divabat (15 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Great notes on the squares I probably won't be alive to see.
posted by hypersloth at 12:29 PM on April 3, 2014 [7 favorites]

next, do a tower of hanoi clock, which takes (2 to the N) minus one moves to finish, where N is the number of discs you start with.
posted by bruce at 12:47 PM on April 3, 2014

When I click squares that have already turned black at least once, it seems to be reporting the next time the square will turn black, not the first time it turned black. For instance, if I click the very first square I see: "This square will turn black for the first time at 3:53pm on Thursday the 3rd of April, 2014".

(Chrome, Mac OS)
posted by my favorite orange at 12:54 PM on April 3, 2014

Sweet. Now please turn this into a desktop app so I can replace calc.exe with it on my enemies victims FRENDS computers.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:07 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think the reported time really captures the magnitude of difference between most of the squares on the first row. The difference between them would be measured in milliseconds, but the smallest unit reported is minutes. So when you click on them, they all seem to have triggered at the same time, but this isn't actually the case.
posted by tybeet at 1:08 PM on April 3, 2014

But then, maybe this is a feature and not a bug, insofar as it's also a lesson in human psychology. Much like how our experience doesn't prepare us to comprehend exponential trends, we're also less able to understand time on scales that are outside of our experience, which is at the year/month/day/hour/minute/second scale.
posted by tybeet at 1:15 PM on April 3, 2014

Um, shouldn't anti-seizure mode default to ON?

Pity the unwary epileptic; they won't have time to click it before they're seizing.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:33 PM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

The clock display is ... uh ... not the best, but the notes on the future squares are well worth reading.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:40 PM on April 3, 2014

Metafilter: Stuff blinking really fast.

Strangely enough I've been appreciating finding out about analytic continuation, convergence and divergence, infinities, complex planes, and all sorts of fun stuff that relate to this via the concept of increasing series...
posted by symbioid at 3:16 PM on April 3, 2014

Next: The exponential bunny clock countup. Starts very slowly with two bunnies...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:20 PM on April 3, 2014

I feel like I'm watching a Cookie Clicker competition scoreboard.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:43 PM on April 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

> This square will turn black for this first time in 357,064 years. Javascript's date calculation tools no longer work, but are scheduled to be updated in the ECMA 8 specification.

posted by ardgedee at 5:51 PM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Coincidentally, I've just been watching this presentation by Al Bartlett, retired Physicist, about Arithmetic, Population and Energy. He touches on Boulder CO and the chessboard, but moves on directly to bacteria and the amount of USian coal available to be burned to generate electricity. He's only slightly cranky, but both entertaining and educational.
posted by sneebler at 6:27 PM on April 3, 2014

Those notes made me laugh very, very hard. I am a cranky bastard so kudos, and thanks, calendar development person.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:34 PM on April 3, 2014

Thanks to this I learned about Type II civilizations. Awesome!
posted by stoneweaver at 10:17 AM on April 4, 2014

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