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Great Clock

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The most significant physical artifact of avout society. Each of the largest concents has a great clock, designed using varying principles and technologies, but all capable of measuring and displaying time on the order of millenia. The great clock displays the time of day and the year, powers the various gates of the concent, and serves as a polar axis drive for telescopes and other observational gear if the concent has a starhenge.

The great clock is wound daily during the aut of Provener. Human energy is used to turn a capstan. The static friction of the many metal components and gears is a significant challenge to overcome. At Saunt Edhar, the static friction is broken through the vibration of rhythmic chanting of the gathered avout.

The technology used in some of the oldest great clocks was grandfathered in during a post-Sack change in the Discipline; at that time, the Ita were created to maintain that technology and physically sequestered it from the avout.

The great clock of Saunt Edhar bears some structural similarity to Danny Hillis' conception for a 10,000 year clock {The Clock of the Long Now - The Long Now Foundation}. The clock and the conception for the novel were both influenced strongly by The Long Now Project. Some of the founders of The Long Now Foundation are recognized at the end of the book - Danny Hillis, Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly and Zander Rose. The book was launched at a Long Now Foundation event.

The main mechanism is a torsional pendulum driven by the potential energy of immense hanging weights, which are lifted gradually during the aut of provener by human energy. It also includes a negative feedback mechanism which synchronizes the clock every clear day at noon using the sun's energy.

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