archiv~1.txt: SETI BOUNCE Non-member submission from [Brian Wong <>]

SETI BOUNCE Non-member submission from [Brian Wong <>]

Bob Cutter ( )
Mon, 22 Mar 1999 16:41:02 -0700

>I've run across a book relevant to SETI that is so good that I think I
>would be doing a disservice not to mention it to the list. The book is
>titled "Deep Time : How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia" by Gregory
>This book is profoundly thought provoking and discusses the task of
>communicating concepts across the vast abyss of geologic time to human
>descendants at least 10,000 years into the future. [The author, a
>physicist, was involved with a US Dept. of Energy project to design
>messages directed at human descendants far into the future to warn them of
>the presence of stored radioactive nuclear waste which have toxic
>lifetimes in excess of 10,000 years.] Benford shows that this task is FAR
>from trivial. Cultures and languages can change unrecognizably over a
>mere 1000 years so on the scales of "deep time", > 10K years, human
>civilization would likely be completely unrecognizable to us today, almost
>alien. We cannot communicate to them via the means and media of our age.
>Benford talks about the various ideas they considered to craft messages
>that might be understandable to the future "alien" human civilizations.
>They ultimately chose using rudimentary symbolism and basic mathematical
>concepts; does this sound familiar?
>This book has direct relevance to SETI for the same type of reasoning used
>to fabricate messages to the far future on earth are not that different
>from those required to design a message directed towards ETI. The other
>parts of his book discuss how a diamond disk was to be attached to the
>Cassini probe to Saturn containing messages similar to the Voyager Gold
>Record but was cancelled before the probe was launched. It's an
>interesting discussion of the politics, bureaucracy, human greed, and
>sheer avarice that prompted NASA to cancel the message marker from
>Take look at this book. Reading it gave me a profound sense of time that
>I've not had before. Uncertainties and changes of the far future are
>somewhat frightening but at the same time its comforting to know that our
>problems of daily life are, in the long run, entirely trivial. The new
>millennium is really no big deal for there are many more where that came
>from. :-)
>This is an excellent book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
>Best Regards,
>Brian Wong