I was intrigued to hear that a legacy disc of 100 pictures from our lives on plant Earth is to be attached to a communications satellite which will be placed in such a high orbit that it should orbit the Earth until such time as our Sun expands and destroys our planet (five billion years apparently.Put it in your diary).
It is hoped that aliens will find this before that time but when we may (may?) have by already become extinct as a species. The choice of pictures is curious and by no means takes into account how alien eyes may interpret what they are seeing (will they get irony?). Let alone how they’ll find the disc attached to what may be one of very many pieces of legacy space junk surrounding the Earth.
The most famous ‘this is us’ disc was tacked to the Voyager space craft in the late 70′s. These spacecraft are only now approaching the outer edges of our own solar system and the the disc is basically an analogue audio disc with a number of analogue still TV pictures crowbarred in. We even supplied a stylus with which to play the disc back (but not the player?).
The idea of sending our future redundant technology into space and which may or may not be decodable by alien eyes amuses me. Is it vanity? Or our desire to carve a kind of ’we woz here’ on one of our latest toys in the hope that somebody someday will be impressed,”Hey they looked like a funky bunch. Too bad we never got to meet up and compare fashion tips”.
Maybe we’re trying to overcome that nagging sense of nihilism inside us that tells us our time on this planet is probably not a long one and there may not have been any real point other than the sublime delight of a baked potato swimming in butter on a cold winter night and stopping the cats from having everything their way.
So even if we do all extinguish ourselves in a series of global riots caused by a shortage of raw materials that prohibits the creation of yet more consumer gadgets and suddenly realising that only three people left on the planet could actually afford to buy a loaf of bread to share between them it will all be just that bit less pointless if ET picks up one of our curious postcards from a dying civilisation at some point in the future and validates our brief existence. If only by raising a glass to us, passing a wry and wistful alien smile (hard to spot I’m told) at the evidence of yet another culture that crashed and burned in the blink of a cosmic eye. They may decide that any civilisation that made electric toasters in a range of different colours was one worth finding out a bit more about.
A future final status update to the cosmos?
The Last Pictures Project
In the UK we have a severe lack of housing. In Ireland it’s the opposite though to adapt a line from Eric Morecambe, it may be a case of all the right houses but not necessarily in the right places. They may be about to demolish some of the 600 ghost estates built during the Celtic Tiger boom years.
“…They just looked at me and said, ‘What? We really can’t show that at all.’ So I said what do you want, and they said, ‘We had Patsy Kensit in today and that was good.’ She said, ‘Culture is buying my daughter an ice-cream at the Natural History Museum.’ So that’s what you’re up against. That’s the level of banality that’s desired.”
Frankie Boyle shares his views and talks about ‘My shit life so far’.
This report from More4 news covers the news that a significant minority of qualified psychotherapists and psychiatrists had admitted to attempting to ‘cure’ or re-orientate their gay and lesbian clients.
I watched a story about fuel poverty on the news last night which showed a family deep in debt because their fuel bill was £50-£60 a week and they’d had to borrow and get in debt to get by.
My first reaction was to exclaim that £60 a week seemed almost infeasibly high and were these people just not turning household and gadget items off at all until I reconsidered that maybe, just maybe the poorest people are likely to be in the least efficient and least modernised homes particularly if they’re renting and/or on low incomes.
Have Your Say (again)
Inevitably the BBC’s Have your say(HYS) discussion (read right wing dominated rant) on the issue of the government proposals to help those worst affected by fuel poverty such as pensioners on a fixed low income and possibly others whose incomes would not not keep pace with the ever growing cost of affording the basics produced the predictable resentment from the ‘sod ‘em all’ contingent.
I shouldn’t torture myself by reading HYS as the lack of empathy contained therein often depresses me. There are often many comments that repeatedly resent helping the worst off in our society because they should somehow get off their backsides and help themselves (how exactly does a disabled pensioner supplement their basic state pension? Sell drugs? Shoplift? Get a job? Some of these comments often beggar belief (maybe it’s just me) but I believe do represent a sizeable percentage of attitude in this country today so I ‘like’ to alienate myself further by reading what the modern equivalent of the man,woman or undefined autonomous individual on the Clapham omnibus actually is thinking).
Here’s to ongoing alienation in your country of birth.
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, author of A Clockwork Orange
amongst other books, vents his spleen over pop music and youth from the vantage point of 1968, at the height of the Beatles and youth culture. A highly intelligent man with a very interesting haircut. He also takes part in a very earnest discussion of Kubrick’s film adaptation of his book alongside actor Malcolm McDowell circa 1972 here
. The book was actually on our required reading list when I was in secondary school.
A smaller sized (370k) AAC+ audio* only version of this video is available here
(*AAC+ audio files require this Plugin(Win) or a compatible player such as Songbird (Win,Mac,Linux), VLC(Win,Mac,Linux)or Winamp(Win) however Quicktime and i-Tunes will play file at half the audio bandwidth and in mono only)
Songbird Music Player Recommended
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I was reading a short piece on The First Post about the niche trend for lifecasting , the broadcasting of a person’s life usually via the internet and some kind of permanent web cam where individuals create their own self inflicted Truman show and Big Brother combined. I know that Microsoft had an idea for a personal camera device that would record your whole life which I doubt I’ll be in line to purchase if it ever sees the light of day. I was struck by the brief comment by sociologist Frank Furedi who stated:
”In the past you achieved recognition through achieving great things. Now recognition is an end in itself”
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