# Redundant clock

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/07/02/redundant-clock.html

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It’s like Happy Hour every hour, what’s not to like, I ask you?

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Roger that!

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Hey, let’s come back at twelve o’clock and hear the whole song!

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I’m happy right now!

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Is it really redundant? Considering there are a large number of analog clocks and watches with markers rather than numbers, the user can ignore reading the “hour” of the marker and just read its location. While these are witty markers, they are not really any more redundant than if they were numbers, are they?

What’s more fun is to imagine there’s a point light source at the hand shaft and the “minute hands” on the markers are little posts, so that the hour hands are a shadow. Now, imagine the light is instead a narrow spotlight emanating from the tip of the real hour hand, so that it only casts the shadow of the corresponding hour marker when it’s that hour! That’s what I would call redundancy.

Edit: Here’s something in the ballpark…

Also in the ballpark…

Bulbdial clock…

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Years ago I worked at a 7-11 with an analog wall clock with only the numerals 7 and 11. One day a 9-ish year old girl who shopped in the store a lot asked me the time. I told her there was a clock on the wall, fully expecting her to tell me that she couldn’t tell the time because there weren’t enough numerals. Instead, she told me that she couldn’t tell “circle time”.

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If it is all right with you all, I would like to call it a “recursive clock”

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But it’s not recursive at all. It’s just twelve nested operators.

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You know what would be cool: if the twelve markers moved around the clock at the same rate as the little hand, and showed the hands positioned according to their location in the clock. That way you could have the time in all the integer time zones. You could also have names of cities or countries to which it applies next to each marker. The names would be going around as time marches. It could be accomplished by having the thirteen little hands, and the locations, painted on a rotating face, and thirteen simultaneously rotating long hands.Too busy?

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oh no! children can’t read an analog clock? When they grow up they might have to spend 10 minutes learning how!

But probably they won’t even need to because they can ask: “Alexa what time is it?”

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To be fair, people like Edward Tufte rail against pie charts because the human brain isn’t that good at estimating fractions of a circle, and the traditional clock is basically a pie chart. If it wasn’t traditional nobody would use it.

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Well, enough to buy a watch.

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Maybe it’s traditional because it’s easy to build?

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Yes, I was thinking about the ease of creating an analog clock. Also, maybe some influence from the layout of sundials?

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Seems likely. Also, sundials and measurements of the Earth both use minutes and seconds. Which I doubt is a coincidence either.

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Good question. It might also be asked whether or not clocks themselves are redundant. Is there no sun? Is there no rotation of the earth? Are there no shadows I ask you?!