Tuesday, September 05, 2006


[Posted by reader_iam]

Leafing through a back issue of The Economist, in an article about Britain's efforts to deal with nuclear litter, I came across this [emphasis added]:
In the end, of course, worries over delays of mere decades seem petty and short-sighted next to the challenge of designing something to last for thousands of years or more. In Britain only a few ancient henges and barrows have endured for anything like the amount of time that a nuclear waste dump will be expected to last—Stonehenge, the most famous, is “only” 4,300 years old. How best, for example, to convey the concept of dangerous radiation to people who may be exploring the site ten thousand years from now? By that time English (or any other modern language) could be as dead as Parthian or Linear A, and the British government as dim a memory as the pharaohs are today.

And we think communicating with people now living is a challenge... .

Update: "Guy" in the comments provides this intriguing link to a piece about communicating with people far, far in the future. In turn, that site has other interesting links.