Ideas Page for the Minilithic Artefact
On this page we will list any good ideas as they come in and keep a record of them as best as we can. This way the design can become a truly human endeavour as many creative ideas are put into its construction. It is expected that the project and the design of the artefact will evolve substantially as a result. Note that rather than capture all discussions, critique, objections or statements of support, the approach here is to capture 'specific' ideas relevant to the design of the artefact.
- Encode fractal like information into the text, so that more information appears as you look closer under higher magnification (Rob Swinney, 29/06/18)
- Surround the stone artefact in Amber like prehistoric insects were preserved. Recommend relevant book The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnal (Neil Raha, 29/06/18)
If you want to create a 100,000 year device, why not enhance your proposed approach by imbedding your dodecahedron into a clear sphere, then place this sphere as a floating sphere in a fountain. These floating sphere fountains (I think they are called Kugel fountains) would be of cultural interest, have an aesthetic beauty, and serve a philosophical role as a "fountain of knowledge" or “philosopher’s stone”. They could be placed at museums of natural history or other cultural centers. These floating sphere fountains already exist, but typically with a granite sphere, and they do attract attention as you can freely rotate the sphere by hand while it is sitting on its spherical bearing cup with the water serving as the floating medium. They could be made any size depending on the venue, but the information encoded on the dodecahedron would be the same. In the event of a long dormant period due to cataclysm, the spheres would encapsulate and protect the dodecahedron from degradation, and when discovered could be polished back to a clear surface allowing future humans to "see" what is in the middle of this sphere (Sonny White, 19/04/18).
Regarding the Information encoding, potential languages to be used, and Decipherment, one area that immediately strikes me is that there is research in the field of anticryptography as to how information can be presented such that it can be deciphered without any knowledge of the language used. This of course is important, because it may be that future post-disaster humans do not speak any current languages. As you note, it will be necessary to encode the information such that it is easily decipherable. I would draw your attention to the following book: Anticryptography: The Next Frontier in Computer Science, Brian McConnell, O’Reilly Media, Inc, 2001. Although the book focusses on encoding signals to be transmitted such that extra-terrestrials can decipher the message, the principles apply equally to "messages to the future". To quote from the author "One of the things I discuss at length in my book is the idea of using algorithms (short computer programs) as a foundation for communication. Using programs, you can send what are, in effect, living symbols. This enables the sender to transmit information very efficiently, and also to describe things that cannot be defined with static images or equations." Note that though algorithms are used, one does not require a computer to decipher them. Hopefully the above notes are of interest, and as I state if the project goes forward and I can help out (particularly with information theory and encoding) then please let me know. (Chris Corner, 19/04/18).
A device offering Maxwell’s equations or the periodic table of the elements might then be seen as the work of the devil, and be destroyed, especially if the preceding disaster resulted, or is believed to have resulted, from human hubris – a highly plausible scenario (Stephen Ashworth, 20/04/18)
I think the endevour to create such a device in itself has high intrinsic value, as it would lead to debates about what is considered "fundamental", "canonical" or "principal" in several different domains of human activity (Andreas Hein, 29/04/18).