Long Now, a smoke of 10,000 years

Did you ever find yourself on Facebook, with a photo of the school where you studied, totally changed, modern or falling apart?

Sotto3 Then you realize that many who lived on the same stage are right there on Facebook, tagged in the photo taken with a Kodak 110 mm. As more people appear you find out that other more recent photos, from the same place were taken, by people before or after, that release the same tears to the 8 of the night from different areas of the planet. Similar stories, anecdotes, students who returned as teachers to be all they hated, but 26 years later wanted to return to those days.

That's how we humans are, we throw away our son's sketchbook, just because it does not fit in the study's cabinet. The letter of the bride of the 12 years, by which we would be willing to give everything, just to have it in our hands, to live the moment again.

Long Now is a foundation created with the intention of creating ideas that consecrate in history what should not be lost in time. That time that goes away so fast, that we forget, that we destroy, that we waste, but that years later we want to recover again.

Here and now, only these 5 minutes mean in this room. Because tomorrow, in a year, or in 10 years will be totally different. What not to say in 10,000 years.


Long now comes under that idea. With the altruistic intention of creating a project of historical preservation in the long term.

  • Now, it's just three days: yesterday, today and tomorrow.
  • Nowdays is the last decade, this decade and the next ... well, it does not even include the years when we were shaking our heads to the rhythm of Cinderella.
  • Long now is a period of 20,000 years. Such that covers from the year 8,000 before Christ to the 12,000.

Although it is an astral smoke of extremely dreamer types, it is the way many libraries, museums and encyclopedias were formed. With the difference, that in this case we speak of a "now" that includes 10,000 years ago and the same amount forward; that is why these gentlemen have added a zero to the years (we are in the 02011 year), foreseeing a phenomenon similar to the Y2K when the 9,999 year passes. The idea, to create something that is for history in the long term, as it is now Stonehenge or the Pyramid of Giza, which exist only about 4,000 years ago.

With the variant, that what is done can be updated over time, and that someone in 10,000 years can see what we were doing right now, our customs, fashions, forms of government, infrastructures ... in short, they can see that there were cavemen the 2011 year in places with absurd names like Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Peru, Honduras. We thought, we acted, we fought for nonsense, we did cave paintings on an Ipad 2 tablet and we were connected by obsolete match boxes called satellites and we shouted novelties with grunts in a language called Twitter.

Long now considers at least 5 layers of time, from which you want to preserve history:

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  • The natural layer, which should include satellite images of the earth, the behavior of glaciers, natural phenomena, deforestation, and other aspects that may be useful for environmental aspects.
  • The cultural layer, which includes the anthropological manifestations that particularize the different regions of the planet, that which makes us unique and for which we should not discuss.
  • The layer of governance, in which the different forms of government and political and administrative evolution are recorded.
  • The layer of infrastructure, with what is happening between us and nature. That which serves us to transport us, live and survive, which today is and tomorrow no longer.
  • The commercial layer, with the economic aspects of the world, now increasingly globalized.
  • And finally the layer of art and fashions, where you would see the creative manifestations of humanity.

It will seem dreamer, somewhat illusory. But if that had occurred to someone from the moment the camera was created, even if it was just a block away from a city, it would be extremely valuable if it had been captured in a systematic way. The Long now project is based on taking advantage of what we now have, computers and storage media.

frontpage_rosettaproject For this there are several instruments trying to model how it would work. Among them the Project Rosseta that with the collaboration of specialists in linguistics from around the world they build an inventory of the different languages ​​and dialects of the world. Another is Long Bets, which seeks to create predictions of what could happen in the future. Long Server we understand is a project for the storage of information and Long Viewer would be a kind of Google Earth style viewer but with layers that allow to consult history backwards in an interactive way.

OrreryWithEngineeringTeam_510pxBut the most significant project of Long now is the watch of 10,000 years. An ingenious dream that seeks to have a watch that lasts over time, that can be preserved, maintained by a caveman, understood by future generations, that survives a global extinction and that is able to give a bell in the 12,000 year.

So, if you ever want to join such an exciting cause, Long Now is a. Maybe now it seems illusory and the guys who have signed up to this idea are considered something outlandish, out of the basic realities of humans. But they will not be in 50 years, much less in 10,000.

If there are those who dream of such issues in the long run, it is likely that there are short-term dreams should not be considered deluded.

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