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It shouldn't be hard to turn a skyscraper into a giant sundial. A quick study of where the shadows fall during the day would soon let us know where to paint the giant numbers indicating each hour.
Although this would look striking if our skyscraper was built in inertia in the middle of some field,
I like the idea of the huge shadow falling across a cityscape, and the numbers being painted at strange angles on neighbouring buildings, parking lots, and streets.
As a piece of public art, I'd like to install lights on the numbers, which would illuminate through the night, as a kind of direct negative of what had happened during daylight hours.
This would look great from your office on the 40th floor, and even better as a huge functional sculpture from the air.
||Works best if the angle of the skyscraper follows the axis of the earth.
||Nice. Plan it well and a spike/ornament at
the top of the building could end up in a
park for some of the day.
||For the street markings you'd probably
need two scales, one for the leading edge
of the shadow and one for the railing edge
(and maybe summer and winter times). I
like it, though. [+]
||I was walking around Washington, DC, last month, and thought the Washington Monument would make a great gnonom. The top of it is not tapered quite enough that the point casts a shadow on the ground during the summer months, but we could maybe stick a ball on a spike on top of it.
That ball will cast a shadow on the ground that will not just describe an arc through the day, but will describe a different arc for every day of the year. We could paint spots all over that part of town, or place plaques to remember important events: "10:17 January 3rd, Thag Ooksson born 9674 BC".
||Today's show was brought to you by the word "gnomon".