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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Signage for the Ages 

A lot of learned folks have been bending gray cells of late trying to figure out how to send messages to the future. Not via time machines, but through simple physical signs designed to last for thousands of years.

The U.S. Department of Energy is worried that nuclear waste dumps will give future civilizations the ouchies. So they convened groups of experts in a host of fields: history, future studies, economics, law, physics, sociology, geography, engineering, political science, risk analysis, agriculture, climatology, history, and demographics. And here is the signage they came up with:
This place is a message… and part of a system of messages… pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

This place is not a place of honor…no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here.

What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

The danger is in a particular location… it increases toward a center… the center of danger is here… of a particular size and shape, and below us.

The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.

The danger is to the body, and it can kill.

The form of the danger is an emanation of energy.

The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.
Remarkable. And how Planet of the Apes!

Meanwhile, other deep thinkers are worried about how to give future civilizations the teacher's edition of all human knowledge, a Rosetta Stone on steroids:
One side of the disk contains a graphic teaser. The design shows headlines in the eight major languages of the world today spiraling inward in ever-decreasing size till it becomes so small you have trouble reading it, yet the text goes on getting smaller. The sentences announce: “Languages of the World: This is an archive of over 1,500 human languages assembled in the year 02008 C.E. Magnify 1,000 times to find over 13,000 pages of language documentation.”

This graphic side of the disk is pure titanium. A black oxide coating has been added to the surface. The text is etched into that, revealing the whiter titanium. This bold sign board is needed because the pages of genesis which are etched on the mirror-like opposite side of the disk are nearly invisible.

This business side of the disk is pure nickel. Picking it up you would not be aware there were 13,500 pages of linguistic gold hiding on it. The nickel is deposited on an etched silicon disk. In effect the Rosetta disk is a nickel cast of a micro-etch silicon mold. When the disk is held at the right angle the grid array of the pages form a slight diffraction rainbow. You need a 750-power optical microscope to read the pages.
Holy hannah. It appears that Global Warming Shock is starting to really set in, what with all these people trying to clean up our planetary apartment for the next renters in hopes that we get our security deposit back. Hopefully in advance of our departure.

"Virtual Tour" 

Why oh why does a business systems company in Syracuse, New York need a 360 degree virtual tour of their offices? It reminds me of a videogame without objectives, purpose, and much in the way of entertainment.

Actual description from a stop along the "tour":
Employee Kitchen Area 1

View from inside our employee kitchen and break room. This also has an entrance for one of our training rooms to the side.
Oooh, I'm tingley all over!

Paging writers of The Office....

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