The Long Now, a futurist think tank, is the organization behind the millennium clock — a time-counting device that is designed to last 10,000 years. A device like it shows up in Neal Stephenson's forthcoming novel Anathem, and today the Long Now explains how the scifi author was involved in the conceptualization of the clock itself (a prototype of the clock is pictured here). Five years ago, he contributed a few sketches to the clock designers, and then ultimately wove the idea into his new novel. [Long Now]
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>>>MAYBE A BIT SPOILERY:
@Slothrop: Stephenson says in the aforementioned Author's note there will be a site (a wiki?) that will have references for all the science in the novel as well as the Earthly equivalents ie. So-and-So's Theorem = that Pythagoras Guy. We could be reading, discussing, dissecting Arbe for years!