Hubris among the Debris

I’d like to thank the ever interesting @kerastion for linking to this  article
– which is among the least self-aware and oddly optimistic  I’ve ever read. To be fair they are scientists, among whom really only certain kinds of quantum chemists and theoretical physicists have the concept of “nuance” held tightly. So they’re probably just excited.

They’ve created a new data-storage method basically. Yep, that’s it.

And they’ve said of this “It is thrilling to think that we have created the first document which will likely survive the human race. This technology can secure the last evidence of civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”

Where to start?

Probably with the Pioneer and Voyager space craft, which have taken messages many years ago – and which will, barring a sudden crash into the Last of the Red Hot Hot Suns, probably well outlast our human existence.

Possibly with the inscriptions on Egyptian tombs. They’ve already lasted thousands of years, and if we make a thousand we’ll be lucky.  Don’t forget that these scientists are making the assumption – optimistic, because they’re left-brained, optimistic types – that the foreseeable future of the human race is long enough to make their claim meaningful.

And then there’s the radio waves we’ve broadcast to the whole universe. Long after we’ve gone, a tangible reminder of our existence, to a super-intelligent alien existence beyond the Crab Nebula, will be the concern as to whether Sam Malone and Diane Chambers will ever get back together.

Imagine, of you will, the scene in 200 years. A terrible thermonuclear war has destroyed all human existence. A peacekeeping mission arrives – too late – from Alpha Centauri. They saw the warning signs a few years ago – when Coronation Street ended its run and people stopped trying to revive Big Brother – and they’ve been heading over ever since.

Having called in at Southampton and picked up some “Superman Crystals”, they’ve taken a tour of the churches in the south of England and are now stood at Stonehenge.

Queeg: Can you understand it, Arqvl?

Arqvl: A lot of the stones have gone, O 7-nosed part-brother. But it seems to be saying “Welcome back…… we hope our offspring haven’t killed themselves since you last came.”

Queeg: A sad and ironic message, O my 9-eared hyper-sister. And yet they were loving in their way – all those stone inscriptions on the church walls. And what have you there?

Arqvl: Just some pretty glass. Must have fused in the war.

Queeg: Let us turn and leave, Arqvl. It was a pretty place, but it is of no use now.

Arqvl: Indeed, Arqvl. As the inscription said back in that church – “Vanity, vanity. All is vanity.”

Queeg: Indeed, my beloved semi-sibling. You are quite the philosopher.


2 thoughts on “Hubris among the Debris

  1. The writing on all those non-biodegradable carrier bags in our landfill sites will probably get through the expansion of our sun into a red giant and subsequent incineration of the earth, completely unharmed.


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