Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Yahoo's Time Capsule Project 167

Posted by kdawson
from the hello-we're-here dept.
eldavojohn writes, "Yahoo is compiling a time capsule (Flash required). This massive project, which accepts donations from anyone, is no ordinary time capsule, though. This time capsule will be digitized and beamed into space from the ancient pyramid of Teotihuacan in Mexico. From the article: 'Starting on Tuesday, enthusiasts from around the world will have a chance to submit text, images, video and sounds that reflect human nature to be included in the message.' I highly doubt this 'time capsule' will reach anyone, but it is a neat idea. After browsing through some of the pictures posted, I would hope extraterrestrial life would be more hesitant to exterminate us — if not for anything else than curiosity. We constantly strive to have our legacy live on in the galaxy." Yahoo worked with Internet artist Jonathan Harris on this project.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Yahoo's Time Capsule Project

Comments Filter:
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:40PM (#16381535) Homepage Journal

    I highly doubt this 'time capsule' will reach anyone, but it is a neat idea.

    No this is not neat>, this is just stupid. This is so incredibly stupid it's left me speechless ... nearly:

    So they're going to beam it into space via a laser from atop a ruin from a vanished civilisation. Are they going to rotate this laser to maintain RA and DEC, to keep it as one continuos beam or will they just fire it straight up (for maximum theatric effect) and thus have it whipped by the spin and orbit of the earth? Carl Sagan's record has a better chance. It's an opportunity for Yahoo to do something utterly useless to get their name in the news, just like it now appears on Slashdot. Applause, applause. It certainly is fodder for some comedy, maybe Mel Brooks will have someone in Spaceballs The Animated Series say, "what is that annoying glare?" while flipping down their pair of Spaceballs The Sunglasses.

    meanwhile, picked up in orbit, the stream is immediately recognised and decoded by a Zygorthean ship. After reviewing the contents, the focus down upon the the pyramid of Teotihuacan and one says to another, "well, we certainly know what killed that civilisation!"

    • Aye (Score:2, Funny)

      by paranode (671698)
      Maybe they'd be better off using the sunshine that shoots from your arse as a vehicle?
    • by hcob$ (766699) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:57PM (#16381827)
      I don't know... It could be a massive legal ploy. Since they will undoubtably send music (In DIGITAL form no less), they can draw all the RIAA lawyers to an Aztec Pyramid. Hopefully, the will re-instated human sacrifice at that point!
      • by NetFusion (86828)
        A P2P (Planet to Planet) digital transfer of copyrighted material brings the RIAA lawyers out like giant worms to a ground thumper.
    • Why "Troll"? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:58PM (#16381839) Journal
      The guy has a point. A laser beam pointed straight up will sweep at _incredible_ speed over any receptor situated a couple of tens of lightyears from here. Even if that civilization were looking this way at the right time, had receptors strong enough for the task, had the luck of not having the beam blinded by our or their sun's light (there's a reason we have trouble detecting even Jupiter sized planets by their reflected light, which is higher than this laser will send), etc, it's something that will sweep over their sensor in milliseconds. At most you can say "oh, there's a bleep of light", but not even "oh, it's modulated". Much less have time to figure out what's being sent or how to decompress it.

      And speaking of which, ffs, who got the stupid idea of sending encoded images? How about something as simple as morse codes, or train of pulses whose count are the prime numbers or Fibonacci's numbers? That's something that any civilization with even elementary maths knowledge and a primitive telescope can figure out quickly. "Hey, this can't be natural!" By comparison, a short faint burst of noise (which is what an alien data format would look like to you too) is likely to be written off as noise or as some unknown one-off cosmical phenomenon.

      All in all it _is_ a stupid publicity stunt, and nothing more.
      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Hmm... that prompts me to think if this idea is as stupid as SETI idea...
        • by Nutria (679911)
          Hmm... that prompts me to think if this idea is as stupid as SETI idea...

          Praise Darwin that I'm not the only person who thinks that SETI is a totally, inanely bolloxed waste of electricty, CPU & radio antennae.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by danpsmith (922127)

        All in all it _is_ a stupid publicity stunt, and nothing more.

        I'd argue that there is a possibility that it is more than a publicity stunt, but rather an overall attitude of not only American, but human sentiment in general.

        Someone once answered the question about why people do the things they do in a way that makes sense, why we are so different from the other animals. "We know we die," she said, "and most of what we do is primarily motivated by this knowledge. I believe that honestly comes into play h

        • Outside of the pity I feel for your life. A couple comments.

          Being that your version of life will end, never to be seen again, is it just not worth it to dream? Should Columbus never have used selfish motive? Or Magellan? Each had a 1 in a million shot by earthly standards at the time. After all it doesnt matter in the scope of things, they should have just stayed at home and drank themselves to oblivion in the pub.

          What about the worlds largest cookie, absolutely absurd, but fun to do anyway.

          It is ho

          • No. Just no. See, the world is full of idiots doing something stupid and pointless. Those are a dime a dozen, and comparing them to people like Columbus or Magellan is just insulting to the latter category. The ones who changed history, e.g., Columbus or Magellan, weren't retards doing publicity stunts, they were people who put some solid thought into what they were trying to do.

            E.g., Columbus's calculations might have been wrong, but he started from solid evidence that the Earth must be round. The idea tha
          • by danpsmith (922127)

            In your cynicism you blot out hope, dreams, and just plain silliness just for the hell of it.

            You act as if acknowledging these truths makes you somehow want to sit in a corner and cry about it. Perhaps that is how most people feel. I find these truths to be liberating. If nothing you do ever really matters to anyone except yourself it gives you the freedom to do the things you really want to do. Now maybe for most people that's murdering and pillaging and whatever, but for most normal people it is simp

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              However, you can dream all you want but the remarks I've made are true. To not deal with them is to not deal with reality.

              Very few people ever actually deal with reality. It's too harsh.

              I have long since come to the conclusion that in some part of most humans' minds, this knowledge MUST be blocked out - to KNOW that in the end, everything that we will ever know or ever dream will fall to dust, would paralyze and immobilize most people. Merely getting through a single day requires not thinking about the

            • by COMON$ (806135)
              I think we understand each other well. Cant disagree with you, I was just pointing out that our lives are our own. What we wish to do with them us up to us. Would I be a better person for acknowledging my insifigance? I guess that would depend on whether or not it would bring happiness. Should I benefit society? Or just myself, what if, in bettering society I lead a fulfilling life? What if my dream is to send a nonsense capsul into space? In my opininon, children have it right in life. We dont
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Even if it was beemed with are spin taken into account, it still has all thr other spins to account for.

        OTOH, a race capable of picking up sucj=h a weak signal might also know to look arounf the initals 'blip' and look for more blips. 5 blips and you ca calcualt how the signal mover and back track it to the sourse.

        Sure, it's a stunt, and while it isn't likely to happen, it's fun to think about.

        encoded images have a patterns. Of course the signal itself can have the method to decode the signal 'embedded'
      • I agree this idea is stupid. Even more annoying to me, though, are the categories they are asking for - love, hope, anger, sorrow, beauty, etc. - with no category for scientific information. I would think that 99% would be meaningless to an alien species. If I intercepted an alien transmission, the first thing I'd wonder is what new knowledge it encodes. If they had their Yahoo equivalent sending out their version of this, scientists on earth might spend decades or centuries struggling to decipher the m
        • Even more annoying to me, though, are the categories they are asking for - love, hope, anger, sorrow, beauty, etc. - with no category for scientific information.

          Certainly you don't expect rational thought from an artist who wants to shoot a laser from the top of a Mexican pyramid?

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)
        any civilization with even elementary maths knowledge and a primitive telescope can figure out quickly. "Hey, this can't be natural!"

        They're going to send some internet porn out there? You'd have thought they'd send something a little more cultural. :-)
    • by Flashbck (739237) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @02:36PM (#16382343) Homepage
      I hope that the intended alien intelligence also has the flash plug in that is required.
      • by Zardus (464755)
        Dude, the Madobemedia Flash player is installed on 97% [google.com] of all browsers. I'm sure they'll have it installed.
    • by nametaken (610866)
      It's probably best that this garbage doesn't make it out of the galaxy. Every category is whining and bitching about things that don't describe humanity with any usable context... crying about relatively small current events, with geographic locations and politicians referenced by their proper names.

      Such a waste of time and money.

  • by Quaoar (614366) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:43PM (#16381603)
    How are they going to build a tube that high?
    • Don't be stupid. It's obviously going to be part of the space elevator.
    • by Zardus (464755)
      Not a problem. They're just gonna pile it all on the back of a truck and send it into space, no matter what any senator says!
  • Are lasers cheaper there too?

    Still, I found this comment interesting:

    Archaeologists say a culture centred in Teotihuacan, known as the City of the Gods, dominated Mesoamerica for hundreds of years during the first millennium. It is unclear what led to the society's collapse.

    The History Channel did a show on this- and suggested it was a lack of fuel & food (based on the fact that Teotihuacan is in the middle of a small mini-desert, which itself is in the middle of a jungle).
    • It was also disease from the Europeans. Same thing that killed much of the rest of the other Native Americans, just more effective in Teotihuacan and other cities because disease spreads faster in denser populations.
      • Except- the original inhabitants of Teotihuacan abandoned the city in approximately 300 A.D.- long before the Aztecs, about 700 years before Europeans discovered Newfoundland. The mystery is in that original evacuation of the city, not the later Aztec renaming of Teotihuacan and die off in 1500.
      • It was also disease from the Europeans. Same thing that killed much of the rest of the other Native Americans, just more effective in Teotihuacan and other cities because disease spreads faster in denser populations.

        I'm sure that's what they teach in Revisionist History class in politically correct schools these days, but it doesn't hold up. Teotihuacan collapsed a thousand years before the first European arrived there.
  • http://advision.webevents.yahoo.com/timecapsule/zo om.php?imgurl=http://us.i1.yimg.com/timecapsule.ya hoo.com/content/words//lg/3321.jpg&l=en [yahoo.com]

    Die Religion ist das Opium des Volkes...
    Religion is the opium of the people...
    La religión es el opio del pueblo
  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:44PM (#16381645) Homepage
    Those stupid @#$% Earthlings are spamming us again!
  • All your base are belong to us
  • by paranode (671698)
    They are just loaded with political statements under 'anger', kind of funny. Lots of kiddie speak about Bush, North Korea, Iraq, anarchy, etc. Quite entertaining.
  • This sounds like a fun idea until you realize that someone is going to submit goatsex. I can only imagine the aliens reaction to this.
    • by Gleng (537516)
      I can only imagine the aliens reaction to this.

      "He's wearing a wedding ring!"

    • by geekoid (135745)
      Alien: "Hey look, we can impregnate the "males" too!"
    • by nametaken (610866)
      "This sounds like a fun idea until you realize that someone is going to submit goatsex. I can only imagine the aliens reaction to this."

      Hopefully it will be interpreted like this: "Please, here is a detailed image of our bowels, now stop probing the human anus."
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:49PM (#16381697)
    DON'T forget the last episode of 'Single Female Lawyer.'
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@devi n m oore.com> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:50PM (#16381719) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, because there's evidence in that pyramid that the aliens who built it used digital communication also...
    Maybe it would be easier to communicate, albeit more expensive, if we shot up a big rock with stuff written on it, say maybe 10 rules that we consider important? I can't imagine that would be misinterpreted somehow by an early desert people on another planet.
  • After browsing through some of the pictures posted, I would hope extraterrestrial life would be more hesitant to exterminate us -- if not for anything else than curiosity.

    Hiroshima, famine in post-colonial Africa, the Killing Fields, the Trail of Tears... you get where I'm going with this? Is that stuff being included?

    With any foresight, they'll go Vogon on our asses.

    Though, perhaps if we can get them to hold off for a bit, we'll be in better position to take advantage of their technology and separate th

    • by geekoid (135745)
      sigh.

      The human race has also don't some wonderfull things.

      There reaction depends soly on their nature. Hopefully it's benevolent.
      If it is hostile, then as our last act, I hope we put something long lasting on the moon that tells the next race about our folly.
      Or even a very large orbit around the sun. Maybe attached to the Halley's Comet so we can nhide it from the incoming hostil aliens.

      Of course, the odds of there being aliens, that can travel through space in a reasonable time, and stumbly upon this messa
      • Of course, the odds of there being aliens, that can travel through space in a reasonable time, and stumbly upon this message is very, very, very low. about 1/Googol

        Well, I was partly being sarcastic, but I wonder if the 'time capsule' will indeed capture the worst as well as the best of what the human race has to offer.

        If so, I think this could be a neat project not just for the slim chance of an alien race receiving it, deciphering it, and understanding it, but also for humankind to recognize what we are

        • by geekoid (135745)
          Good news! Most people care, and are not violent.

          there is not best or worse the human race has to offer. Only the human race.
  • yahoo made a real-life /dev/null

    "Hey everybody, throw your digital crap in here!"
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:50PM (#16381725) Journal
    The first line says it all: "Yahoo is compiling a time capsule (Flash required)."

    With our luck, aliens will be using Amiga OS or DOS and never see it. ;)
  • WiFi Spam (Score:3, Funny)

    by Peter Trepan (572016) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @01:53PM (#16381765)
    After browsing through some of the pictures posted, I would hope extraterrestrial life would be more hesitant to exterminate us -- if not for anything else than curiosity.

    Lord Emperor, the Imperial Armada has exterminated the last of the hydrogen-band spammers. At last we can enjoy a reliable communication infrastruc... wait a minute, WTF is this coming from ZZ9 Plural Z-Alpha!?
  • From the article I highly doubt this 'time capsule' will reach anyone, but it is a neat idea.

    Why not sell copies of the "capsule" for a few bucks. It would be kind of neat. Copyrighted material might be a problem I guess, but I'm sure there'd be ways to work with that.
  • Someone at yahoo misunderstood the context when they heard that "TCP/IP protocol is univesally adopted everyone supports them". Yahoo, please sit down, or you might hurt yourself. Those real Klingons and Vulcans and Deltans are not likely to "get" the communication protocol.
    • by moco (222985)
      There was a poster from cisco once that showed a flying saucer and had the legend: "If they have a computer on board we can communicate with them". You mean it was false advertising?
    • by geekoid (135745)
      probably, bnut a properly encoded signal could tell a race that can recieve it how to decode it.

      Trivial, really.
  • Beaming nonsense into the void? It feels a little better to be a GOOG shareholder again.
    No wonder their stock is dropping like a rock.
    http://finance.google.com/finance?q=YHOO [google.com]
  • I wonder if a picture of Goatse will be making the timecapsule: How vulgar it is, it -does- reflect human nature... or at least that what is displayed on the Net.

    And if it -does- make the timecapsule, and somehow this message reaches aliens; Would they assume we're very open to their supposed anal probing?

    Questions... Questions... Questions...
  • How come everytime a "sending something into space" people assume that huimans are wierd? Or more violent then aliens? or less kind?

    I have a feeling life out there might see us and go "No wonder they can't travel through space , look how nice they are!"
  • Green bug-eyed monster #1: "Listen to this transmission! Do you believe this?!"
    Green bug-eyed monster #2: "WTF?"
    Green bug-eyed monster #1: "This is one f***ed-up species!"
    Green bug-eyed monster #2: "Word."
    Green bug-eyed monster #1: "I say we blast off, and nuke the site from orbit."
    Green bug-eyed monster #2: "It's the only way to be sure."

  • by Incongruity (70416) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @02:11PM (#16382023)
    (at the moment) Love - 273 items Beauty - 119 items Fun - 100 items You - 99 items Hope - 98 items Faith - 59 items Now - 58 items Past - 47 items Sorrow - 28 items Anger - 24 items --- Kinda makes me like humanity a bit more.
  • So basically they're beaming up decades of porn into space?
  • Send It To Ourselves (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cybrpnk2 (579066) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @02:16PM (#16382091) Homepage
    Something like this was proposed in the David Gerrold novels of his Dingilliad [gerrold.com] series. The sum total of human knowledge was constantly being shot around the solar system on a laser beam that bounced off of various retroreflectors on the different planets. If you waited some finite amount of time (an hour or so) for the next pass of Item X, anything you wanted could be siphoned off of the stream by setting up a telescope receiver and picking up part of the "spillover" laser beam that hit your colony location but missed the retroreflector. This dynamic "storage medium" was used at the time of the story instead of a "static medium" like physically immobile hard drives or memory chips.

    As I recall, Gerrold presented some mumbo-jumbo that said the storage capacity of such an arrangement - a billions-of-miles-long laser beam - was truly enormous. Sounded like a pretty good idea. Anybody think it would really work - and better yet, be practical?

    • by richdun (672214)
      Interesting for sure. My main worry would be about signal degradation -reflection is never perfect, so there would always be some loss.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AeroIllini (726211)

      As I recall, Gerrold presented some mumbo-jumbo that said the storage capacity of such an arrangement - a billions-of-miles-long laser beam - was truly enormous. Sounded like a pretty good idea. Anybody think it would really work - and better yet, be practical?

      It does sound like an intriguing idea. Some of my thoughts on the subject:

      In order to maintain a constant signal strength, each receiver/transmitter would need to "boost" the light signal, presumably by adding a beam of light of its own. The spillover

    • No. That is why it is called "science fiction".
    • by SamSim (630795)
      Assuming that a retroreflector is something which amplifies the signal (otherwise it fades quite fast), the maximum number of bits you could store is equal to the frequency of the signal in hertz multiplied by the total round trip time of the signal in seconds. If we call that a 75THz signal (maximum of visible light) and a 24-hour round trip around the whole solar system, that's about 10^20 bits, or ~1000 petabytes? Not bad.
  • I collect donations, you guys. Here's my plan:

    1. Collect massive quantities of information
    2. Record them into expensive as hell piece of hardware
    3. Throw it out in space and lose it forever

    I swear it makes a hell of a sense!

    Honestly. Let's see what we have here to communicate with unknown being from outer space. No really, let's ignore that those artifacts will never really hit anything remotely alive out there (hey the Universe is really huge you know? And most of it is just empty space).

    We can try with li
    • by geekoid (135745)
      NTSC is a regular pattern, with sidebands.

      "3. Throw it out in space and lose it forever"
      If I submit something, it is not lost forever. A copy is lost forever, but big whoop.

      If they are to small, then they're not sentiant. So they are not the target demographic.(see, I recognize marketing when I see it!)

      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        If they are to small, then they're not sentiant.

        Only goes to show how limited our knowledge is. You claim how big a sentient creature may be only because the sentient creatures you see around you are around a specific size.

        Depending on environment, gravity and so on, you might end up with quite a different ecosystem.
  • Let's hope those communist aliens don't ALL run Linux or they'll be out of luck.
  • [Captain Kirk] So Ensign Shortskirt, what was that transmission?

    [Ensign Shortskirt] It took a little while to reconstruct the message, but it appears, from the predominance of nude photos, to be an invitation for sex...

    [Captain Kirk] Woohoo! Plot a course to the source!

    [Ensign Shortskirt] Uhm. Sir, the origin point is Earth, as of about four hundred years ago...

    [Captain Kirk] DAMN...IT...I...NEED...TO...GET...LAID!

    [Ensign Shortskirt] Your cabin or mine sir?

    [Captain Kirk] Mine. Five minutes. Bring

  • From the article: 'Starting on Tuesday, enthusiasts from around the world will have a chance to submit text, images, video and sounds that reflect human nature to be included in the message.'


    It's like MySpace... In spaaaaaaace!
  • After a quick sampling of the wisdom on the site...

    You know, maybe it's just me, but if I was composing a message that would be sent out to the Universe, available to entities on billions upon billions of worlds, I would at least run a spellcheck before hitting "Submit."
  • Yahoo worked with Internet artist Jonathan Harris on this project.
    You bubble-headed booby! Oh, the pain... [wikipedia.org]
  • by scottsk (781208)
    The DRM implications of beaming stuff into space are enormous. Will the aliens have the right media player and license? What if the DRM expires before the beam is received? If teens can't pay for MP3s on Earth, how will we collect money from aliens? What happens if I accidentally contribute copyrighted music - will the RIAA sue the aliens? What if the LCD screen on the time capsule cracks?
  • "Yahoo is compiling a time capsule (Flash required)."
    I'm pretty sure any intelligent race out there is blocking the Flash plug-in.
  • I think a world could be destroyed for sending out an image like that. Let's just hope that Yahoo is incompetent enough and will not compensate for the Earth's rotations.
  • I would definitely include this classic by Terry Bisson.

    http://www.terrybisson.com/meat.html/ [terrybisson.com]

    "Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"

    "First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual."

    "We're supposed to talk to meat."


  • Archaeologists say a culture centred in Teotihuacan, known as the City of the Gods, dominated Mesoamerica for hundreds of years during the first millennium. It is unclear what led to the society's collapse.


    Clearly, the last time capsule they tried to beam into space!!
  • It would be a good way to keep alien invaders out. It would be like saying 'nothing to see here, move along'. If aliens see how primitive our computers are, they would definitely think again about visiting us.

    I would have suggested DNF, but by the time it will be out, we will deliver the goods to the aliens ourselves.

  • by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @08:26AM (#16391809) Journal


    Yahoo has cancelled plans [dnaindia.com] for a "time capsule" ceremony at pyramids in Mexico, citing concerns regarding possible damage to the ancient site.

    "The position of INAH is that after evaluating all the technical and operational aspects, it would be very difficult to move forward with this endeavour," Yahoo said in a release.

    "Therefore, we have decided to move the location of the event. For now, we are focused on collecting as many unique and interesting contributions as possible from around the globe."

    INAH: Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (National Institute of Antropology and History).

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

Working...