Nearly 40 years ago, the two Voyager spacecraft left Earth. Aboard each was a time capsule of humanity for extraterrestrials: a golden record containing sounds and images portraying the diversity of life and culture on Earth, including a diagram of DNA, greetings in 55 languages, a map of our solar system's position relative to stellar landmarks, the sound of a kiss, Louis Armstrong's "Melancholy Blues" and "Dark Was the Night -- Cold Was The Ground" by Blind Willie Johnson. Since culture and technology don’t stand still, Science Friday asks: "If humanity were to send another Golden Record to the stars, what would it contain?" An expert panel will review submissions from the public, and a new Golden Record will be unveiled on October 7. [more inside]
Tushar Lall arranges Indian classical music versions of well-known pop culture soundtracks. The latest release is Star Wars; there's also Harry Potter, Interstellar, Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean and BBC Sherlock.
Carl Sagan wrote, “We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” But how will humans or our machine representatives fly to the stars? [more inside]
The Mix Tape of the Gods: made to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per second, now traveling 300 million miles per year
August and September 2011 mark 34 years in the journeys of Voyager 1 and 2. The two scientific probes, progeny of the Mariner program, were sent out to survey this solar system and beyond. Voyager 2 completed the Grand Tour in 2009 (excluding Pluto), and Voyager 1 is getting closer to interstellar space (previously). Both scientific probes were sent out in with a time capsule from 1977, golden records secured in plain view on the outside of the Voyager Spacecraft. These greetings from earth (alt links: Coral Cache, Archive.org) were recorded in the form of 116 images, a collection of sounds of this planet, greetings in 55 languages (YT), 27 songs from around the world, and brain waves of Ann Druyan, then recently engaged to Carl Sagan. For all that work, the "Mix Tape of the Gods" almost didn't get sent into space because of some last-minute writing in the run-outs. [more inside]
Furthermore, let’s remember that Alderaan isn’t gone. It’s just blown up. Suddenly all the metallic elements that were languishing away in the planetary core are floating around in the void, ripe for the plucking. And anyone who can plausibly claim to have owned them is dead. You can build a lot of Death Stars with that much tungsten. Well, not even a lot—but maybe one.The Overthinking It Think Tank takes a look at “the economic calculus behind the Empire’s tactic of A) building a Death Star, B) intimidating planets into submission with the threat of destruction, and C) actually carrying through with said destruction if the planet doesn’t comply.” [more inside]
Where no economist had gone before. Paul Krugman posts a type-written paper on interstellar trade which he wrote as "an oppressed assistant professor" in the '70s. I do not propose to develop a theory which is universally valid, but it may at least have some galactic relevance. [pdf link]