slice-of-thai.com Silliness Bamboo Binary Clock

What would you do if you lived in a place where time doesn't matter, and you received a clock that only computer nerds could read? Why, you'd create the world's first bamboo binary clock, of course!

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The Gift

Back in 2006, I received a "gift" in the mail that brings a whole new meaning to the term "disposable income:"

Discovery Channel Binary Clock

Yes, that's right, it's a sleek Discovery Channel crystal blue LED binary clock. Leave it to the Discovery Channel (or Sharper Image) to come up with a clock that only computer nerds can read:

Discovery Channel Binary Clock

Discovery Channel Binary Clock

I especially like the way the marketing geniuses at Discovery Channel have made the product's greatest weaknesses into features:

The special irony of this gift is that I live in Pai, a tiny farming village in the mountains of Northern Thailand where time itself floats by without anyone hardly noticing.

While pondering the absurdity of it all, I noticed that my friend Paul was hanging out with a Pai local who had just shown him how to use a machete to slice a fresh stick of bamboo into tiny stalks that can be woven together to produce a bamboo mat.

Thus was born the revolutionary idea to adapt the little Discovery Channel clock to life in Pai.

We Can Rebuild It

Step 1 was to free the little guy from the confinement of his urbanite-sleek modern casing, and also de-solder the linkage for the 120V power supply (Thailand is 240V), replacing it with a 9V battery:

Binary Clock Freed

Like a baby finally unfettered from his wet, chafing diapers, already we could see the unit shine with joy:

Binary Clock Freed

Step 2 was to create the bamboo mat. First Paul started with a stick of bamboo from the jungle, at first splitting it coarsely using a few judicious whacks of the machete followed by a blade-twisting motion to open up the full crack:

Chopping Bamboo

Then Paul further sliced each stick into a narrow, flexible ribbon by pushing the bamboo into the machete blade using a surprisingly difficult motion that looks very easy when the locals do it:

Slicing Bamboo

Next Paul and I wove the strips into a criss-cross 3+3 pattern, punched holes in approximately the pattern of the LEDs, and filled the holes with translucent candle wax, along with 4 "mounting" blobs of candle wax on each corner:

Bamboo Face

Finally we mounted the binary clock onto the face:

Mounting the Binary Clock

The Bamboo Binary Clock

Thus was born the world's first bamboo binary clock:

Bamboo Binary Clock

It hung on the wall in a local restaurant for several months, confusing endless streams of guests and helping us all ponder the age-old question of why we would ever want a binary clock (let alone a bamboo one) in the first place.

Support
This Site
More than 1000 hours of work have gone into making this site. Please support my work and ongoing site improvements in one of these ways:
donate now   Donate Now
Use your credit card or PayPal to donate in support of the site.

get the best thai-english phrasebook app
Experience Thailand richly with my Talking Thai-English-Thai Phrasebook app.
get the best thai-english dictionary app
Learn Thai with my Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary app for iOS, Android, Windows.
get a cool thai-english paper dictionary
Don't leave home without the Thai-English English-Thai Compact Dictionary I co-authored.
get thailand fever
I co-authored this bilingual cultural guidebook to Thai-Western romantic relationships.
get the best chinese phrasebook app
Visit China easily with my Talking Chinese-English-Chinese Phrasebook app.
get books or almost anything
Pick a Thai learning book from my list or buy anything at all from Amazon.
See AlsoYou'll probably also like these sites...
allaboutpai.com
A site about Pai, my peaceful home in the mountains of Northern Thailand.
lurkertech: video tech and diversions
Buzzword bingo, bill the borg, MEZ, lurker's guide to video, and Thai, oh my!
mapfling.com: free custom maps with your own labels
Party? Meeting? Request a map, label it yourself, and easily fling it to your friends!
world's stupidest everything
See some of the worst the world has to offer, and add some of your own!

World's Stupidest Holiday and Birthday Presents - stupidest-presents.com
World's Stupidest Wedding Websites - stupidest-wedding-sites.com
World's Stupidest Baby Websites - stupidest-baby-sites.com
World's Stupidest TV, Movie, Music, and Sports Stars - stupidest-stars.com
World's Stupidest Politicians - stupidest-politicians.com
World's Stupidest TV Shows - stupidest-tv-shows.com
World's Stupidest Movies - stupidest-movies.com
World's Stupidest Blogs - stupidest-blogs.com
World's Stupidest Websites - stupidest-websites.com
World's Stupidest Company Websites - stupidest-company-sites.com
thailand your way
Travel with my friend Nang, who is a great nature, birding, and cultural guide.
jeed illustration
My English-fluent Thai friend Jeed is a freelance illustrator who is available for hire.
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