SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — According to Alexander Rose, director of the Long Now Foundation, his organization’s new venue which combines attributes of museum, library and cafe in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center creates “an environment where it’s OK to have a discussion about solving a problem over a course of 500 years.”

The new space is called “Interval” and a quick peek inside reveals what looks to be a trendy San Francisco cocktail lounge. But it’s much more than that. Here, everything has a purpose.

“Your environment affects how you think, but it affects even more the conversations you have,” Rose told KPIX 5.

Rose pointed out a glass table mounted on an impressive cluster of gears and shafts.

“This is the first prototype for a chime mechanism for the ten-thousand year clock we are building; this can ring a series of ten bells in a different sequence each day for ten thousand years.”

Soon, Interval will install a robot that can draw pictures of things people say. “We wanted a place where you can really exchange some thoughts,” Rose said.

Interval’s mission is to get people to think and talk about long-term problems like climate change, deforestation and issues that will affect the planet for thousands of years in the future.

Rose says Interval — with its extensive library and prototypes for grand experiments — can get people thinking big thoughts about that distant future. “The grandest hope for this space is that it’s like the cafes and salons of the Enlightenment,” he explained.


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