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Forever Fungus October 8, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in e-books, geocaching, ideas, inventions, movies & TV, music, sense of wonder, Time, writing.
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Or maybe spores. I didn’t even know there were such things as bacterial spores. But the time capsule from the old Bellevue Hospital has a test tube full of them. But what are they? Gee, have we seen this sci-fi movie a millions time over? But this is real life.

I have always been fascinated with the notion of time capsules and what they pass along to the future. Big things (or things that become big) are never really included because the society will move those right along without help, thank you. And who, other than Steve Jobs, is able to look at something and know it will be bigtime? So the trivial is placed in the capsules for the most part which might be the best possible things to include. These give clues as to ordinary life that likely never gets recorded because, at the time, it is too trivial to even notice, and a chance for ordinary folks to have some fun.

Time capsule time: what would you put in one being buried today? What book or techno gadget or item ought to go inside? Newspapers might be interesting, not for the news but because by the time the capsule is opened nobody will have seen one. But putting in a CD or iPod loaded with music is likely to be a losing proposition. Think how computers have changed in the last 30 years. If I found a 3.5″ floppy from my old Apple ][e, I couldn’t read it. I suppose old Apple drives are around that could read it but the technology would have to be reinvented, whether our next door neighbors in 2111 are ready to flit off to Alpha Centauri for a well deserved vacation or Neanderthals more interest in painting their brand new cave wall.

Print books last centuries. Ebooks don’t. What good would a cell phone or digital camera be? DVDs of movies? The icloud will be long gone, faded into electronic mist and Johnson noise. Unreadable. I think a roll of duct tape might be interesting, even if it would age poorly. Styrofoam packing beads (aka “ghost shit”) reflect a great deal about us. What could we put in to amuse and amaze our ancestors 100 yrs from now? A gold coin? Mostly we have moved on to a culture that’s transient. The 51″ TV ain’t gonna fit (or work). How do you roll up a URL to display then? A set of Wikipedias? Would a Kindle maintain its e-ink page over 100 years? As my dad used to say, “You can’t beat a drum for a Christmas present.”

Maybe the Bellevue scientist who put his bacterial spore in the time capsule was right. Communicate by sending a plague forward in time. That’ll show ‘em!

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