A Language experiment for the ages… literally

This is an old project I had read about in the early 80s,in OMNI magazine, a project to make a symbolic representation of the huge enormous danger of toxic waste… that could be read and understood by a society ten or twenty thousand years from now. With the full expectation that our Great Civilization isn’t going to be here by that time, but our nuclear waste and other poisons WILL. The notion that the storage containers in which the crap is kept would need constant maintenance over the thousands of years, that’s another problem but, you see, they had hoped that somebody would figure out how to arrange that. 30 years down, 19,970 to go on solving that.
Then there’s the problem of how to word the message. There’s a famous “curse” on the dead bodies of the “immortal” kings of Egypt, “Who disturbs this tomb will be eaten by the scorpion, the crocodile, the Hippo, the Jackal and the vultures” or something like that.
People just don’t speak Fluent Cop or perhaps don’t recognize it when they see it, What it meant was “This property under surveillance, any trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law”.
Which was, being taken out, cut into little tiny pieces and fed to the hippo, the scorpion, the buzzards, the jackals…
No body, no name, no magic, no immortality for you dude.
But, you see, there’s the notion that a Future Indiana Jones cowboy archaeologist, Lara Crofts or whatever, will see the sign, say “Wow, it’s protected by a mighty curse… there must be something really cool in there”.

Of course, our Priest-kings, like Sarah and Glenn and Rush, have declared it blasphemy to speak words against the way nuclear and other toxic wastes are handled. For they wish us to say that it is good, it is good, amen amen…
20,000 years ago the dominant human tribe on earth were Neanderthals.
They left trash piles with broken up cooked bones, fireplace leavings, broken spears, and… coprolites. Fossilized feces. OK so it’s more like “freeze dried” than fossilized, but their crap outlasted them by ten thousand years. Pictures on the walls that people thought were just stupid and childish, because the mammoths, the sabre-tooth tigers, etc… well, who among us has seen a living mammoth? anybody? Buehler? anybody?
But of course, we’ll find a way to contain all that nasty waste, and OUR civilization is going to be the first one to go the distance, we’ll be speaking 20th century English a thousand years from now, we saw it on Star Trek so we know it must be so. For WE are the mightiest and greatest and noblest civillization ever.

On the sands of Far Samarkand…

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