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robertogreco : clocks   19

Fall In | Submitted For Your Perusal
"I’m writing this on the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

Depending upon where you are, it might not feel like fall yet. Right now, for instance, it’s 92°F outside where I live. And humid. More summer than fall. Yet, at the same time, school’s back in session, football is being played, and Halloween paraphernalia is appearing in stores.

The leaves on one of the trees outside my window are starting to change color. Some leaves have even started to fall. It’s getting darker earlier and lighter later. And even though it’s still hot out during the day, it’s cooling down more at night.

Change is in the air.

This leads to a question: Should one also change in conjunction with the seasons? By this I mean more than donning a natty scarf when the temperature drops below a certain level—I mean changing things about the way you eat, sleep, live, and work.

Conventional productivity advice doesn’t really take up this question. One of the things, in fact, that irks me about such advice is that it tends to frame things in terms of daily routines, routines that are ostensibly the same regardless of the season. In other words, most productivity advice is seasonless. Here I’m thinking of things like Mason Currey’s engrossing 2013 book Daily Rituals and Tim Ferriss’s more tech bro-y late-2016 knockoff Tools for Titans.

Now, I’m as interested in famous people’s daily routines as anyone. But at the same time, I feel it’s important to resist the tyranny of “the day.”

What do I mean by that?

Well, we live in a world of seasons—and increasingly more variable and violent seasons at that—but productivity advice seems to always think in terms of the day, the week, the year, or five years, never the season, the sun, and the shadow.

In Lewis Mumford’s endlessly-rich 1937 book Technics and Civilization, he explains how the clock altered human relations by organizing everything around twenty-four little hours instead of, say, the rhythm of the seasons.

The consequences of this, Mumford argues, are profound:
When one thinks of the day as an abstract span of time, one does not go to bed with the chickens on a winter’s night: one invents wicks, chimneys, lamps, gaslights, electric lamps, so as to use all the hours belonging to the day. When one thinks of time, not as a sequence of experiences, but as a collection of hours, minutes, and seconds, the habits of adding time and saving time come into existence.

Because of the clock, Mumford continues, “Abstract time became the new medium of existence. Organic functions themselves were regulated by it: one ate, not upon feeling hungry, but when prompted by the clock: one slept, not when one was tired, but when the clock sanctioned it. A generalized time-consciousness accompanied the wider use of clocks: dissociating time from organic sequences….”

Since we all pretty much live according to “clock time” now, the autumnal equinox presents us with an opportunity to cast off our Apple Watches and reflect on some of the benefits of living according to what might be called “seasonal time.” To that end, I encourage you to step out of “clock time” and into “seasonal time.”

This will, no doubt, strike some as unappealing. Many people see nature as something to overcome or counteract, not as something to flow with or submit to. For others, it will be impossible. “Clock time” is simply imposed on them too strongly. But if you can do it, even just a little bit, I strongly recommend it, if only for the perspective it brings.

To quote Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To every thing there is a season.” What if we took that adage seriously, not just by buying pumpkin spice lattes but by doing key things in a more fall-like way? Fall-like might take different forms. The point is to embrace fall in particular and seasonal change in general. I’m definitely not recommending becoming “Mr. Autumn Man”. I’m talking about something else, something deeper.

One example I like is how novelist Lee Child sits down every September and begins work on a new Jack Reacher novel. He finishes up sometime the following spring and then spends the rest of the year doing other stuff—stuff like spending the entire month of August on vacation. (I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty nice.) Note, too, that this routine produces a book a year. (As someone who writes much more slowly, this sounds pretty nice to me as well.) And Child has been doing things this way since the late 1990s. (For more on Child’s process, see Andy Martin’s Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me.)

Fall is a time to write for me as well, but it also means welcoming—rather than fighting against—the shorter days, the football games, the decorative gourds. Productivity writer Nicholas Bate’s seven fall basics are more sleep, more reading, more hiking, more reflection, more soup, more movies, and more night sky. I like those too. The winter will bring with it new things, new adjustments. Hygge not hay rides. Ditto the spring. Come summer, I’ll feel less stress about stopping work early to go to a barbecue or movie because I know, come autumn, I’ll be hunkering down. More and more, I try to live in harmony with the seasons, not the clock. The result has been I’m able to prioritize better.

And yes, fall for me also means some of the stereotypical stuff: apple picking, leafy walks, we’re even trying to go to a corn maze this year.

In sum, as the Earth wobbles around the Sun, don’t be afraid to switch things up. I can’t promise an uptick in productivity, but when you think of things in terms of seasons instead of a single day, the entire year becomes your canvas."
mattthomas  seasons  routine  2017  tempo  change  writing  work  productivity  rhythms  lewismumford  timferris  clocks  time  fall  autumn  clocktime  nature  calendars  leechild  nicholasbates 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Airbrushing Shittown | Hazlitt
"S-Town isn’t fiction—we can probably assume that the facts, as we are given them, are “accurate.” But mere accuracy doesn’t make it journalism: the private details of private lives have no clear public interest, and Brian Reed never seriously argues that they do. It’s creative non-fiction, then, a category whose very name is composed out of negations: not fiction, but not non-fiction, either; true, but created. And so the fact that he never finds anything—that nothing happened—is what he finds at the end of his investigation, the discovery that the very opposite of something happened. He finds that something didn’t happen, in a half-dozen different ways, and that it didn’t happen for everyone in a variety of fascinating ways: the murder, the gold, and the conspiracy of silence… He finds none of it, only the story of how he set out to look. And then out of this series of negations, he wraps it all up, neatly, so that we can all go home, entertained.

By the end of the podcast, you come to realize that the monologue that opened it—a monologue about clocks and how they are reconstructed—is really about Brian Reed’s own process, about reconstructing a life. “Sometimes entire portions of the original clockwork are missing,” he says, “but you can’t know for sure because there are rarely diagrams of what the clock is supposed to look like. A clock that old doesn’t come with a manual.” John B. McLemore is the clock, and the testimony Reed has gathered, over long years of work, are the “witness marks” a clock-restorer uses to guide their way, “impressions and outlines and discolorations, left inside the clock, of pieces that might’ve once been there.”

“Fixing an old clock can be maddening,” Reed says. “You’re constantly wondering if you’ve just spent hours going down a path that will likely take you nowhere, and all you’ve got are these vague witness marks which might not even mean what you think they mean. So, at every moment along the way you have to decide if you’re wasting your time or not.”

Reed did not waste his time; S-Town was a smash from the start, a career-making triumph. But in their original function, clocks are not made for entertainment. Clocks are tools that make social life possible. A clock makes time, and organizes it, and time is, ultimately, a social medium: we use it to coordinate with others and to communicate; a sense of shared time helps us meet each other and find each other and arrange the stories that we tell about each other—it allows us to take our turns speaking and listening, and it allows us to put things into their proper perspective. Without clocks—or without some sense of shared time, however constructed—society, as we know it, would not be possible.

John lived in his own time zone, literally: as Reed mentions, John B. McLemore’s house did not observe daylight saving time, so depending on the season, the time at his house might be an hour different than the surrounding area. It’s a good reflection of his relation to his world, his insistent eccentricity reflected in his own, personal, zone of time. It’s a good joke, a playful irony, even a self-consciously Faulknerian expression of being southern, a quiet little rebellion against unification under the guise of turning back the clock. It’s also totally ridiculous, which John surely understood: since all time is social, the idea of having your own time zone is absurd, only meaningful in the irony of its meaninglessness.

Moreover, for all his scrupulous attention to reconstructing the original function of a clock, the irony of clock restoration is that John didn’t repair clocks for their original function. His clocks were repaired to be old, to be antiques: the point of “restoring” them was not simply to make them work—that’s easy enough to do—but to make them work exactly as they once did. That’s why John hand-ground a gathering pallet from scratch. “They aren’t trying to simply make the clock work again,” Reed says of the fraternity of horologists. “Their goal is to preserve and reconstruct the original craftsmanship as much as possible.” Recovering and replicating the inspiration of the original clockmaker makes them valuable enough to sell, but it’s the sale that matters.

After all, clock restoration serves no useful function in a world where we all have clocks on our phones (the same phones we might use to listen to a podcast). In a world where networked clocks are everywhere, an antique clock is so big, heavy, and fragile that it isn’t useful in that sense. Instead, an antique clock’s eccentricity becomes valuable because of how odd it is, how particular, and how much work goes into restoring it. When people pay for a restored antique, they are paying for an incredibly laborious lack of useful value: so much work went into making them work again, but because that work is totally superfluous and unnecessary, it is thus, perversely, worth paying for.

If an old clock is valuable because of the perfectly recovered eccentricity of its original intention, the same could be said about John B. McLemore’s own perverse life, and for that matter, this podcast. So much work went into making it, but what, after everything, is this podcast actually for?

When John B. McLemore heard the earliest draft of Reed’s program, the story of the murder of that didn’t happen, his reaction was disappointment: “I can’t believe how much you’ve worked on this son of a bitch and at the same time,” he sighed, “my god.” Reed wanted him to be relieved, to be happy about the work, and is audibly upset that he isn’t. Perhaps John B. was in a bad mood, even a depressive episode; perhaps that was why he wasn’t sufficiently appreciative. Perhaps his original fit of enthusiasm for activist journalism had long passed—it had, after all, been years since he originally contacted Reed—and he had a different perspective on the story Brian Reed was telling. When Reed observes that “I am not saving the world over here,” John’s retort that “You are definitely not saving the world!” is delivered with a peculiar, bitter intensity, the laugh of someone who once thought it was possible, perhaps, but no longer does. What’s the point of all that work if it can’t save the world?

John B. isn’t cruel, though: “I think you’ve done pretty goddamned good,” he says, finally. And he’s absolutely right—one can only admire how well Brian Reed reconstructed his clock. But what is the point of it? What does it do?

I am writing this and you are reading it because we are sharing a moment: we have all listened to this podcast, the timepiece that Brian Reed built to bring us together. But what do we do with this unity? Across the seven hours of Reed’s production, we are told a story in which we all can understand each other, talk to each other, and hear each other: we can unite in admiration for John B., for the genius that was born to Mary Grace, for his voice, and for the power of storytelling. We can hear his voice and be united in our appreciation for his existence. Is this what we need now? Does it tell us our time? Does it bring us together? Does it help us understand what it means to have Donald Trump as president, and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as the most powerful cop in the land? Or is it simply a nostalgic exercise in anachronism, like a perfectly restored antique? Is it something we value because it does something, or because it feels old and authentic?

I don’t know. In the end, all it offers is questions."
aaronbady  s-town  storytelling  horology  clocks  purpose  journalism  podcasts  nostalgia  brianreed  johnbmclemore  restoration  accuracy  entertainment  process  criticism 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Clocks Are Too Precise (and People Don't Know What to Do About It) - The Atlantic
"No big deal, but abolishing leap seconds could unmoor us from the sun forever."



"But wouldn’t abandoning the sometimes-second eventually divorce the Earth from the sun? This is one of the reasons why Canada, China, and Britain all cling to the leap second, or, at least, did at the last global meeting.

Matsakis thinks such a link has already been lost.

“​We don’t have a connection,” he told me. “We lose the connection twice a year when we go on daylight saving time.”

By the end of this century, the accumulated gap between UTC and what-should-be-the-solar-time would only be about one minute.

“What will happen is that in about 1,000 years, instead of the sun being overhead at noon, it will be overhead at 1 p.m. But by then society will have shifted.”

Hence the Chaucer. “Almost no one can read Chaucer,” Matsakis says, but we don’t freak out about it. Instead, we understand language to be one of those systems that has shifted imperceptibly over the centuries. In 600 years, when scholars translate texts from before the 21st century, they will just know that—in addition to translating or annotating monetary values so they make sense for contemporaneous readers—“noon” needs to become “1 p.m.”

Such a slow shift over time would be worth it, Matsakis said, for all the network failures it would prevent.

“You would [think it was worth it] too if you were one of the people stranded in Australia when Qantas Airlines went down,” he told me.

He recalled how American railroad companies only invented timezones after crashes forced them to. (Between 1831 and 1853, there were 97 railroad crashes—often because two trains, scheduled at close intervals on the same length of crowded track, disagreed about the time.) And perhaps it would be the same for the leap second."
time  clocks  robinsonmeyer  leapseconds  2015  precision  demetriosmatsakis  science  astronomy  physics  history 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Being and Dying — The problem with watches
As watches, and in the larger sense, clocks move away from being public symbols of time keeping - the clock in the square, in the factory, the office - problems arise when we think about and use them.

With the increased use of flexible working hours, and grey areas between personal and work time - where we check our emails at night and weekends, stay connected to our work through various means - the function of a clock or watch defines itself into new, different ways.

The role of time shifts from a public experience, to a private one.

Just as the public clock was replaced by the personal watch. The personal watch and its time keeping, becomes even more private.

Where once the public clock would determine the time for the town or city, and the personal clock or watch would align itself to that. We now use watches as almost personal timing regulators. The precision of the mobile phone and its ever-present clock relegates the importance of accuracy, to the background, while multi-useability through different contexts comes to the fore.

Even alarm clocks have started to evolve. Mobile apps and advanced alarm systems, along with new research into sleeping patterns, show us a new way to wake up, by linking the alarm time to our own circadian rhythm.

The function of the clock - watch or alarm - has gone from the general – 7am whether you like it or not – to the specific – i’ll wake you up when you are ready.

The development of this technology, and the emerging world of wearable technology, raises a number of new issues.



If I can chart my health, and view time in a different way, how far can this idea go?

The notion of a death clock is a very old one. The first clock-watches, small ornamental clocks made in Germany in the 16th century, were frequently created into unusual shapes - animals, flowers, crosses and skulls. In these cases, they became technological memento mori.

There are some new death clocks that have been designed recently, but despite their technological advances, are essentially the same as those from the 16th century, and reveal the inherent problem in creating a ‘death clock’.



The accepted death clock basically asks the wrong question.

Rather than asking, how long do you have to live? We should be asking, How long do you want to live now?

If we can develop another method to chart our personal time, in a manner which develops a different approach to time keeping, perhaps we have find a solution to the problem of a death clock.

If are to overcome our anxiety about dying, we need to see a clock that tells our own time, from the other side of dying: living.

If we can use technology and the function of a wearable in such a way that it fits inside the vocabulary of modern design, we can assert a different type of health; a holistic health approach where we don’t turn life into a game, or a score to reach, but rather a moment to enjoy, a gentle reminder, ‘I am here right now’."
time  clocks  fabrica  beinganddying  2013  dying  being  sleep  alarmclocks  work  deathcloack  death 
october 2013 by robertogreco
COHEN VAN BALEN
"Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen run a London based experimental practice that produces fictional objects, photographs, performances and videos exploring the tensions between biology and technology.

Inspired by designer species, composed wilderness and mechanical organs, they set out to create posthuman bodies, bespoke metabolisms, unnatural animals and poetic machines."
art  design  cohenvanbalen  revitalcohen  tuurvanbalen  via:bopuc  animals  biology  artificial  bacteria  biotech  biotechnology  bionics  biosensors  sensors  blood  bodies  body  human  humans  brain  memory  cellularmemory  science  choreography  cities  clocks  cooking  cyborgs  documentary  dogs  eels  electricity  ethics  exhibitiondesign  exhibitions  families  genetics  gold  goldfish  heirlooms  immunesystem  immunity  implants  installations  language  languages  leeches  lifesupport  life  machines  numbers  organs  performance  phantoms  pharmaceuticals  pigeons  birds  placebos  poetics  posthumanism  sheep  psychology  rats  prozac  suicide  soap  spatial  serotonine  superheroes  syntheticbiology  video  yeast  utopia  yogurt  translation 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Wheel of Stars
"You are watching, and listening to, a musical clock made of stars.

To make this, I downloaded public data from Hipparcos, a satellite launched by the European Space Agency in 1989 that accurately measured over a hundred thousand stars. The data I downloaded contains position, parallax, magnitude, and color information, among other things…"
sound  stars  polaris  clocks  time  musicofthespheres  circles  2009  jimbumgardner  astronomy  science  measurement  via:nicolefenton 
january 2013 by robertogreco
ShareBrained Technology | Electronics for Curious Brains
"Hi, I’m Jared. I have a little company called ShareBrained Technology. It’s just me right now, designing timekeeping, radio, and music hardware and software I think is cool. I subscribe to the open-source hardware philosophy — if you buy a product, you should be able to modify it in whatever way you imagine. Encouraging hacking of hardware and software is the best way I can think of to promote the advancement of useful technology.

Have a look around the Web site — at my blog, or at my products, and let me know what you think via e-mail, Facebook, or Google+. If you live in Portland, Oregon, catch me at a Dorkbot PDX meeting."
music  radios  sharebrained  hacking  portland  oregon  jaredboone  make  microcontroller  kits  steampunk  timepieces  clocks  diy  hardware  electronics 
august 2012 by robertogreco
EPC / Paul Blackburn - Translation - Julio Cortázar - "The Instruction Manual" [The preamble is just as good, if not better, but I've bookmarked that previously, so you'll have to click through to read it in full.]
"Preamble to the Instructions on How to Wind a Watch: [...] They aren't giving you a watch, you are the gift, they're giving you yourself for the watch's birthday.

Instructions on How to Wind a Watch: Death stands there in the background, but don't be afraid. Hold the watch down with one hand, take the stem in two fingers, and rotate it smoothly. Now another installment of time opens, trees spread their leaves, boats run races, like a fan time continues filling with itself, and from that burgeon the air, the breezes of earth, the shadow of a woman, the sweet smell of bread.

What did you expect, what more do you want? Quickly. strap it to your wrist, let it tick away in freedom, imitate it greedily. Fear will rust all the rubies, everything that could happen to it and was forgotten is about to corrode the watch's veins, cankering the cold blood and its tiny rubies. And death is there in the background, we must run to arrive beforehand and understand it's already unimportant."
juliocortázar  watches  clocks  time  life  death  ownership  freedom 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Julio Cortázar: Instrucciones para dar cuerda al reloj
"...cuando te regalan un reloj te regalan un pequeño infierno florido, una cadena de rosas, un calabozo de aire. No te dan solamente el reloj, que los cumplas muy felices y esperamos que te dure porque es de buena marca, suizo con áncora de rubíes; no te regalan solamente ese menudo picapedrero que te atarás a la muñeca y pasearás contigo. Te regalan -no lo saben, lo terrible es que no lo saben-, te regalan un nuevo pedazo frágil y precario de ti mismo, algo que es tuyo pero no es tu cuerpo, que hay que atar a tu cuerpo con su correa como un bracito desesperado colgándose de tu muñeca. Te regalan la necesidad de darle cuerda todos los días, la obligación de darle cuerda para que siga siendo un reloj; te regalan la obsesión de atender a la hora exacta en las vitrinas de las joyerías, en el anuncio por la radio... Te regalan el miedo de perderlo, de que te lo roben... No te regalan un reloj, tú eres el regalado, a ti te ofrecen para el cumpleaños del reloj."
time  clocks  ownership  freedom  gifts  juliocortázar  possessions  fear  slavery  obsession 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Meaning Of Time by Bomi Kim » Yanko Design
"The Meaning of Time is a brilliant clock concept perfect for all those crafty people out there. It supplies the mechanism to keep time, you supply the hour and minute hands. You can use just about anything as long as it fits thru the holes."
design  clocks  time  craft  minimalism  meaning  make 
may 2008 by robertogreco
alexandra von feldmann - interaction design - Birth Clock
"fragile glass object containing a digital clock that is not working; it is designed to help you to come to a decision when you're stuck at a specific point in life. Smash the glass, and the clock will start to work, leaving you with the broken object as
art  design  clocks  time  life  motivation  science  technology  change 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Hasbro's Room Tech Clock is in kahoots with the Lamp: be afraid - Engadget
"Despite numerous technological advancements in home automation, it's never really seemed to catch on with the mainstream. Now it's time for the children -- our future -- to take things into their own hands"
wireless  alarms  alarmclocks  clocks  light  communication  ubicomp  everyware  automation 
february 2008 by robertogreco
UnterGunther - Restoration of the Pantheon clock
"Swiss-French urban explorers team whose activity is to restore the invisible parts of the heritage in total clandestinity. In November 2005, the UnterGunther infiltrated the Pantheon of Paris and, with the help of their professional clockmaker Jean-Bapti
activism  untergunther  conservation  underground  law  security  psychogeography  hacking  hacks  clocks  art  anarchy  urban  france  paris  culture  craft  ingenuity  graffiti  anarchism 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Les Untergunther
"Les Untergunther sont un groupe d'explorateur-urbains basés à Paris dont l'activité consiste à restaurer clandestinement les parties non-visibles du patrimoine."
activism  untergunther  conservation  underground  law  security  psychogeography  hacking  hacks  clocks  art  anarchy  urban  france  paris  culture  craft  ingenuity  graffiti  anarchism 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark's clock | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
"4 members of underground "cultural guerrilla" movement known as Untergunther, whose purpose is to restore France's cultural heritage, were cleared on Friday of breaking into 18th-century monument in plot worthy of Dan Brown or Umberto Eco."
activism  untergunther  conservation  underground  law  security  psychogeography  hacking  hacks  clocks  art  anarchy  urban  france  paris  culture  craft  ingenuity  graffiti  anarchism 
november 2007 by robertogreco
nanda - Clocky
"The alarm clock that runs away and hides when you don't wake up. Clocky gives you one chance to get up. But if you snooze, Clocky will jump off of your nightstand and wheel around your room looking for a place to hide. Clocky is kind of like a misbehavin
gadgets  fun  clocks  time  work  life 
december 2006 by robertogreco
http://markargo.com/gadgets01/
"My interest in the personalization of technology has moved me to create a series of gadgets that are inspired by object artisans such as clock/watchmakers, jewelers and other craftsmen. Each object is hand-made with enclosures that are sculpted from trad
gadgets  electronics  clothing  clocks  crafts  fun  experiments  jewelry 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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