According to Agence France-Presse, the Saudi government is almost ready to unveil a really, really big clock, in the hopes that "Mecca Time" will replace Greenwich Mean Time as the standard by which the world sets its clocks. Hard to see that happening, but what's for sure is that this is one spectacular clock. Not only are the faces 151 feet across, it will be housed in a tower that will become the world's second-tallest building when completed. And they are not kidding around when it comes to bringing the bling:
More than six times larger in diameter than London's famed Big Ben, the clock faces, with the Arabic words "In the Name of Allah" in huge lettering underneath, will be lit with two million LED lights. Some 21,000 white and green coloured lights, fitted at the top of the clock, will flash to as far as 30 kilometres (18.7 miles) to signal Islam's mandatory five-times daily prayers. On special Muslim occasions, 16 bands of vertical lights will shoot some 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) up into the sky.
How can America compete, with our scrawny little clocks? I expect Sarah Palin to be offering an outraged tweet any day now.
-- Paul Waldman