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The Ultimate Interstellar Valentine Mix Tape

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the still-single-still-taking-applications dept.

NASA 75

Hugh Pickens writes "NPR reports that toward the end of the summer of 1977, NASA launched two Voyager spacecraft that each included a golden record containing, among other things, the sound of a kiss, a mother's first words to her newborn child, music from all over the world, and greetings in 59 different languages. The records on board were meant to survive for a billion years, in the hope that some day, against enormous odds, they might cross paths with an alien civilization. The record was a special project of Carl Sagan with the help of Ann Druyan, creative director of the project. For Druyan, though, the summer of 1977 and the Voyager project carry a deeply personal meaning because it was during the Voyager project that she and Sagan fell in love. Then Druyan had an idea for the record: They could measure the electrical impulses of a human brain and nervous system, turn it into sound, and put it on the record so that maybe, 1,000 million years from now, some alien civilization might be able to turn that data back into thoughts." (More, below.)"Just a few days after she and Sagan declared their love for each other, Druyan went to Bellevue Hospital in New York City and meditated while the sounds of her brain and body were recorded. According to Druyan, part of what she was thinking during that meditation was about 'the wonder of love, of being in love.' And the gold records? They're still out there with their offer, to whomever might stumble across them, of a human body newly in love. 'Whenever I'm down, ' says Druyan, 'I'm thinking: And still they move, 35,000 miles an hour, leaving our solar system for the great open sea of interstellar space.'"

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75 comments

did you not get the memo? (3, Funny)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133972)

V'ger will fall into a black hole and comeback home in a few hundred years and then Kirk will save us all :D

Re:did you not get the memo? (2, Informative)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134122)

According to this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_1 [wikipedia.org] , it better happen before 2025 or the probes power will run out. (We never did get to six such probes).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V'ger [wikipedia.org]

Re:did you not get the memo? (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134672)

According to this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_1 [wikipedia.org] , it better happen before 2025 or the probes power will run out. (We never did get to six such probes).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V'ger [wikipedia.org]

Why would that matter? It's not like it's going to stop moving after the power runs out. The alien civilization that builds an entire freaking ship around the probe and fixes its programming so that it can continue on a far bigger exploration mission can probably manage to add a power source.

Re:did you not get the memo? (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135200)

The alien civilization that builds an entire freaking ship around the probe and fixes its programming so that it can continue on a far bigger exploration mission can probably manage to add a power source.

It would have to be at least twelfth power. Thousands of starships couldn't generate that much.

Re:did you not get the memo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137910)

Uh, that was Voyager 6, which AFAIK, hasn't been launched yet. Not to worry.

How will they play it? (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133982)

Try buying a needle for your 60's record player now....

Re:How will they play it? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134032)

"Each record is encased in a protective aluminum jacket, together with a cartridge and a needle. [nasa.gov] Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played."

Re:How will they play it? (3, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134514)

As an added bonus, information regarding Paul's mortality can be found by playing the record in the opposite direction.

Re:How will they play it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134612)

As an added bonus, information regarding Paul's mortality can be found by playing the record in the opposite direction.

If they would have just waited another dozen years, they could have told the aliens all about Paul's boutique.

Re:How will they play it? (1)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135210)

As an added bonus, information regarding Paul's mortality can be found by playing the record in the opposite direction.

Or at least it would have been if EMI had released the rights [wikipedia.org]. Guess aliens aren't immune from the RIAA either, couldn't have them listening to music without paying for it!

Re:How will they play it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134544)

Try buying a needle for your 60's record player now....

Okay. [google.com] Considering you can order a needle from a place like Bed Bath & Beyond, not to mention numerous other places that actually specialize in these things, I'd say that it really isn't difficult at all to find a turntable needle.

Sometime in the 2270s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31133984)

..these probes are fated to fall into a black hole, emerge on the other side of the galaxy where a race of machines evolves them into a massive, sentient cloud of collected knowledge, ... or be used by Klingons for target practice.

Hello Earth (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134030)

Hi. I'm an alien.
I have found your golden record.
I'm thinking to share it with my race via an alien protocol similar to bit-torrent.
What's my legal status?

Re:Hello Earth (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134156)

Hi. I'm an alien.
I have found your golden record.

So why didn't you send me the first Ramones album like I asked you to?

Re:Hello Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134248)

I'm still waiting legal advice on that.

Re:Hello Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134424)

go to this link at demonoid then
http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/1436452/703038/

Your answer (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134564)

Works by an on-duty employee of the United States federal government are public domain. Go nuts!

Re:Hello Earth (4, Funny)

jschen (1249578) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134812)

Hi. I'm an alien. I have found your golden record. I'm thinking to share it with my race via an alien protocol similar to bit-torrent. What's my legal status?

Given your location, definitely non-resident alien.

Re:Hello Earth (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135196)

It's all right if you have the ability to print out 2 million dollars.

And can you print some out for me too?

Watch out... (3, Funny)

MercBoy (756722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134036)

Don't these damn scientists watch TV? On a Doctor Who episode, a sample of blood was sent out on a probe, and the evil aliens used it to control everyone on Earth with that blood type. Now, with brain wave samples, they come back and turn us all into brain-sucking zombies just for their amusement. It will be the ULTIMATE zombie movie!

Re:Watch out... (3, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134120)

Actually, following that precedent, it would turn only people who are in love into brain-sucking zombies.

In other words, it won't do hardly anything.

Dreadful waste (0, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134072)

I wonder how much Sagan was paid for that bit of totally useless work...

Re:Dreadful waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31136050)

Don't know the exact amount, but I know it was a lot more than your mother got paid the night she conceived your useless ass.

couple minor things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134086)

The Dr. Who episode you refer to is actually the Christmas invasion between season 1 and 2 of the new series (air date Christmas day 2005) IIRC.
The Record (from the summary) was sent in mid-1977, If they had seen that Dr. Who episode then want to meet their contact at Yesterdays Express.
[For When it absolutely must be there before you sent it]
{meta: mod comment troll -9}

I see a flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134096)

NASA brain recording engineer
"Ok, ready to start recording your thoughts"

Person in recording booth
Don't think about porn... Don't think about porn... Don't, wow she's hot... DOH!

Brainstorm (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31146166)

Dr. Michael Anthony Brace: Take the house... take the kids... take the whole goddamn thing! I can't live like this anymore, Karen. You're strangling me!
Karen Brace: What are you talking about? I never wanted the house! I never wanted any of that. It was you!
Dr. Michael Anthony Brace: No! It's you! That's not me you're looking at! It's you!
Dr. Lillian Reynolds: What was that?
Dr. Michael Anthony Brace: I don't know. I got mad. [gesturing to Karen] At you.
[He rewinds the tape and takes the reel with him as he exits]
Dr. Lillian Reynolds: What happened?
Karen Brace: I was showing him my latest design. But he always ignores me, I don't know, it just made me furious.
Dr. Lillian Reynolds: Feelings.

Unlikely (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134118)

They could measure the electrical impulses of a human brain and nervous system, turn it into sound, and put it on the record so that maybe, 1,000 million years from now, some alien civilization might be able to turn that data back into thoughts.

That's like taking a couple of snapshots of the stock market and hoping a future civilization would be able to recreate the evening news.

Re:Unlikely (2, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134148)

Right, kick ass. Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded.

Re:Unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134168)

No, its more like having a gold record from an alien civilization crash in your back yard, regardless what is on it, you're still gonna be famous as hell.

Mixed Tape (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134190)

There are some unpublished notes from Carl Sagan about this project. Here is one of them:

If you want to make the ultimate interstellar valentine mix tape from scratch, you must first create the universe.

Sweet, sappy and awesome (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134218)

It's pretty amazing to think that there's a little piece of humanity floating through the cosmos and someday it might just find its way into the hands of another sentient race. The odds are of course astronomically (literally) tiny that it will come into contact with anything bigger than dust, but it is definitely worth a try.

It's even cooler that a little piece of Sagan is traveling out there in the cosmos too. I seriously doubt that his partner's 'thought's can be recreated from an audio recording of her EEG, but that there's even a chance is also pretty neat.

This was a perfect Geek Story for Valentine's Day.

Re:Sweet, sappy and awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137958)

sappy sucks ass.. I hate infp style sentimentality. The entire process has the scientific rigor of creationism.

http://typelogic.com/infp.html

It sounds cute (1, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134234)

But it was a bad idea.

Who knows who will find these disks. They could be friend, or foe ( or both...). And don't give me the 'they are too far away to be a threat', if our disk got there, they can get here and we gave them a freaking map and way to much information about us and our weaknesses. If we were hard up for real estate WE would use the information that way.. so why couldn't they do the same? As far as distance, if you are running out of room or resources, what is a few 100 or 1000 of years to find a new home?

Sure, it sounds like a scifi plot, but its a legit concern of the unknown and they shouldn't have been so cavalier about selling the rest of humanity out.

Re:It sounds cute (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134394)

Who knows who will find these disks. They could be friend, or foe ( or both...). And don't give me the 'they are too far away to be a threat', if our disk got there, they can get here and we gave them a freaking map and way to much information about us and our weaknesses.

It's not distance. It's time. You're thinking in hundreds or thousands of years, and that's simply absurd. After leaving the Solar System, these probes will be lost in an inconceivably large expanse of space. Voyager 1 is due a close approach to the red dwarf star AC+79 3888 in about 40,000 years - where 'close approach' means a distance of 1.6 light years. And that's mostly because that star's moving towards the Sun, rather than Voyager moving towards it. Voyager 2 has no such close encounter planned, though it will come within a few lightyears of Sirius in about 300,000 years.

For comparison: 40,000 years ago the last Neanderthals were wandering Spain. 300,000 years ago... well, there's evidence of the use of fire.

And that's the timescale for a close approach to a star of the order of a lightyear. To actually be found, unless someone out there has godlike sensor technology (in which case there's no point trying to hide anyway), they'd have to come a lot closer in than that. Millions of years? Billions? These probes are small, and in a few decades their transmitters will fall silent and their radioactive cores die and their metal structures cool to the ambient temperature of deep space. They'll be hard to spot.

Don't think of this as a message. Think of it as a time capsule. By the time they're found, if they ever are found, then whatever is living on Earth won't be H. sapiens any more. If there even is an Earth by then, or a Sun. The record doesn't say 'Here we are' - it says, 'Here we were'.

Re:It sounds cute (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134758)

If there's one thing I've learned after hanging out on Slashdot for the past ten years, it's that a huge majority of Slashdotters really have no concept of time beyond a few hundred years or so. Many believe that mankind will still exist in our present form in another 7 billion (with a B) years from now when the sun engulfs the Earth. Nevermind that mankind has only existed for a few hundred thousand years (as homo sapiens), or that multicellular life has been around on this planet at all for a few billion years at most.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135760)

If the Star Trek movies taught me anything, it's that Voyager is due to be shot down by Klingons some five hundred years from now.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137914)

If Star Trek taught ME anything it's that in space there are only two dimensions, nebulas are only a couple of hundred yards across, all video codecs are instantly compatible, and if you die in an MMORPG you die in real life.

Re:It sounds cute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137994)

Sorry, that was one of the Pioneer probes, and since that movie sucked so bad, I couldn't be bothered recalling if it was Pioneer 10 or 11.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135870)

I think that by the time they will be found, it will be somebody actively searching for artifacts from the 20th Century that is on some expedition for the National Geographic Society. Seriously, this would be a huge prize for anybody wanting to make the effort.

In comparison, Gus Grissom's Mercury capsule was thought to be permanently lost at sea, as was the Titanic. Both have been recovered (or at least spotted and examined in the case of the Titanic), even if it took some time. I think the Voyager probes will be no different and their course + trajectory will be monitored and calculated to within a few dozen miles even when their power sources go out.

Here is the real question: How long will it take humanity to be able to create spacecraft that can reach and surpass the Voyager probes, and will such an attempt be manned or unmanned?

As a time capsule, I think you hit the nail with the hammer there. But it will be human civilization that has Earth origins that will retrieve these vehicles.

For myself, I'd put the bet on about 200 years from now before significant technology and substantial interplanetary spaceflight has the capabilities of routinely getting to the point where the Voyager probes will be at in 200 years. Perhaps sooner, but I wouldn't count on it.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137650)

To retrieve Voyager would be... difficult. Fantastically expensive. But not impossible.

Assuming no exotic physics - no warp, no inertialess space drive, you fly around using recoil from throwing mass out the back at high speed - then the best we can probably hope for is a fusion rocket. It would have to accelerate to an immense speed to catch Voyager. Then brake to match velocities, actually recover the probe, come to a complete stop and accelerate back to Earth, stop again, and deliver cargo.

Every stage takes fuel. You can't play orbital tricks out in interstellar space where there's no gas giant handy to pull a loop around. It all has to be done by the engines. So, work it out. (a) Fuel to bring Voyager to a halt in low Earth orbit, from deep space cruising speed. (b) Fuel to get Voyager, plus the fuel from part (a), from its current drift in the wrong direction to deep space cruising speed towards Earth. (c) Fuel to brake the mission spacecraft plus all the fuel from parts (a) and (b) from deep space cruising speed to Voyager drifting speed. (d) Fuel to accelerate the mission spacecraft, plus all the fuel from parts (a), (b), and (c), from Earth orbit to interstellar cruising speed.

Add the fuel from parts (a), (b), (c) and (d) together. That's what it'll take. That'll be one BIG rocket. Far bigger than an interstellar probe, which only has to get to deep space cruising speed _once_. Ramscoops might help; but I doubt we'll spend long enough at high enough speeds. A sail plus launching laser would probably be essential, since that cuts out needing to carry the fuel for part (d). Antimatter fuel would be ideal, but getting antimatter in bulk requires new physics, while fusion rockets just require new engineering.

It would be a wonderful mission, and it would bring home an incredible historic treasure. But I suspect that a fusion-rocket civilisation would have better uses for such vast resources. There are neighbouring star systems to be mapped; ice moons and asteroids and Plutinos to be settled and mined; and there are enough relics of the earliest spacefarers to be found, nearer at hand, preserved in vacuum under diamond domes on the Moon at Tranquillity and at the Ocean of Storms and at Fra Mauro and all the rest, where the tourists go to gaze at the fearfully primitive equipment with which their forefathers braved the final frontier, and at the footprints they left for eternity.

Collecting Voyager will, I think, be the task of some far-future civilisation which laughs at Newton's third law. If they can remember where it is. Or what it was to be human. If they've forgotten, maybe the Interstellar Record will remind them what their evolutionary predecessors were and how they once saw the cosmos.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143586)

I'm not suggesting that it is something which would be done in the next century with chemical rockets.

Yes, I'd agree, it would have to be either a fusion rocket or something powered with anti-matter as fuel for energy density, and if it is using a reaction mass that the "exhaust" is moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light with an ISP that is incredible.

That said, collecting Voyager at some point in the future is something that I believe will be possible. Records are currently kept both on its current trajectory and where it likely will be in a couple hundred years, so locating it won't be a problem from my viewpoint.

Somebody remembering the Voyager probes? Those were historic firsts for a whole bunch of reasons, and they will be etched into western society for centuries to come. Other space probes such as some of the earlier space probes (some of which are still active!) that are merely in solar orbit have been more forgotten, but there are a huge number of these artifacts that I believe will be retrieved eventually. Certainly the Viking landers on Mars and the stuff that went to the Moon are going to be grabbed eventually into some museums, including most of the Apollo equipment left behind as well.

When viewed in this context, while the capture of the Voyager vehicles will be a major accomplishment if or when it happens (I'm saying it will happen eventually), it will be in the context of historical artifacts from "earlier civilizations". The computer equipment on the Voyager probes are already something of historical interest because of some of the technologies involved. I think the Voyager probes are some of the last computers in "active" service that still use core memory, as an example.

I won't try to describe core memory other than to suggest looking it up on the wiki or elsewhere. It is remarkable stuff but incredibly expensive. Core memory is also incredibly resistant to radiation damage, which is why it was used on Voyager.

Re:It sounds cute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31137668)

I suspect one of the following will be their fate:
1) fall into a black hole
2) get toasted by radiation from a (super)nova
3) captured by the gravity of another object and break up on impact when it crash lands (include falling into another star)
4) collide with an oject such as something from the kuiper belt

Does it have enough velocity to escape this galaxy?
If not, then it will likely end up falling prey to the gravity of something in it.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137880)

where 'close approach' means a distance of 1.6 light years.

Is 1-2 ly really considered a 'close approach' between stars? If so we're practically touching Proxima Centauri at only 4.2 ly.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134444)

Who knows who will find these disks. They could be friend, or foe ( or both...). And don't give me the 'they are too far away to be a threat', if our disk got there, they can get here and we gave them a freaking map and way to much information about us and our weaknesses.

If Sagan had any sense he would have first encrypted the contents of those disks using state of the art DES.

Re:It sounds cute (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135160)

if our disk got there, they can get here and we gave them a freaking map and way to much information about us and our weaknesses.

Why would aliens need to go hunting for a tiny space probe traveling far slower than light, that won't reach them for aeons, when they could just tune into PBS and hear all about us?

First response received from the aliens (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134294)

Send more Chuck Berry!

Re:First response received from the aliens (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31146380)

Send more Chuck Berry!

And of course when I read that, it was in the voice of a zombie.

"Come in dispatch. Send... more... paramedics." -- Zombie ordering delivery; Return of the Living Dead

Sound of a Kiss (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134404)

The scientists of Omicron Persei 8 have decoded the alien disc:

Lrrr: Let's here it!
Disc: fap fap fap fap fap...

Ob. Futurama... (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135172)

The scientists of Omicron Persei 8 have decoded the alien disc:

...and were really pissed when it didn't contain the final episode of Single Female Lawyer...

Sound of a KISS? (1)

Comen (321331) | more than 4 years ago | (#31134752)

At first glance, I thought it read "the sound of KISS" would have been better anyway, you do not want the aliens to think we are pussies do you!
You wanted the best and you got it! KISS! (DEUCE)

Sorry to tell you... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135070)

... so that maybe, 1,000 million years from now, some alien civilization might be able to turn that data back into thoughts.

... but that is completely impossible.

I don’t mean that it would be hard. I meant that it is physically impossible. Even for ourselves. Because of the lack of information. It would be like saying “enhance“ on a 16*16 px thumbnail, and get out the map of the world including all streets.

But hey, the gesture counts. :)
I just hope we can tell the aliens that, before they interpret it as a intergalactic Bin Laden tape and start a preemptive attack. ;)

Re:Sorry to tell you... (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137310)

I don’t mean that it would be hard. I meant that it is physically impossible. Even for ourselves. Because of the lack of information. It would be like saying “enhance“ on a 16*16 px thumbnail, and get out the map of the world including all streets.

That's a valid point if we assume there will never be more insightful ways to utilize the information.

The actual history (2, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135194)

It might sound charming to talk about Ann Druyan and Sagan falling in love. This was Sagan's nth marriage for large n. The first one was with biologist Lynn Margulis. Then later to artist Linda Saltzman. He had serious problems in his personal life. And many people who knew Sagan speculated that the final marriage would have probably eventually broken up as well if not for the fact that Sagan died. Sagan was an amazing scientist and publicizer of science but his personal life was very dysfunctional. Not at all someone I would try to emphasize on Valentine's Day unless I was trying to make a point about the inherent ridiculousness of so many romantic claims. Anyone who wants to know more about this fascinating figure should read Keay Davidson's biography of Sagan.

Re:The actual history (3, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135532)

N = 3, each of which lasted about 15 years. While that doesn't live up to our society's moral expectations, I doubt many people reading this will manage even *one* 15-year marriage.

Information content of brain waves. (2, Interesting)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135230)

I heard about this story on NPR yesterday. It's a neat story, and I had never heard about it previously. The line about aliens reconstructing the recording back into thoughts started me thinking though. It seems absurd, but how could you show it was absurd using science and not just opinion? The first thing that came to mind was measuring the information content in the recording, and trying to estimate the information content in thoughts. If the information content in the recording Information content of the thoughts, it is impossible to reconstruct the recording into thoughts no matter how advanced the technology. Brain waves have a very low frequency. On the order of 4-13 Hz. Even if you're able to cram several bits/Hz, that's still a very small amount of information. So the question remains, how to measure the information content of thoughts?

Re:Information content of brain waves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31135310)

You can measure size by compressibility -- you can only compress data that contains less information than the encoding allows. Hence any time the same piece of information can represent at least 2 different thoughts you do not have enough data to uniquely reconstruct the original thought.

And it's pretty useless to talk about bits per Hertz -- thoughts are not binary, so "bits" is meaningless, and they aren't encoded on a carrier wave, so "Hertz" just represents an oscillation in the local electric field, not a limit to the bandwidth of thoughts.

Re:Information content of brain waves. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135820)


And it's pretty useless to talk about bits per Hertz -- thoughts are not binary, so "bits" is meaningless

Thoughts aren't binary, but bits are a common unit of information. The signal on the recording can be reduced to information. We can know the limit of this channel through the Shannon/Hartley theory.

If you really can't reduce thoughts down to a signal, then you've already answered the question since what's on the recording is merely a signal. Thus it can't be turned back into thoughts. If thoughts CAN be reduced down to a signal, then measuring the information content of them and comparing that to the information content on the record could at least definitively rule out the possibility.

Re:Information content of brain waves. (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135592)

Impossible to answer at present. As another responder said, Shannon's information theory tells us that a signal can be highly redundant or noisy: its information content depends on how much of the garbage you can remove and still reconstruct the message.

But you can only figure that out if you have a *receiver* which can detect and reformulate the signal. We can measure the brain's electrical signals, but we have no idea how to turn those back into thoughts. Until we can do so, we have no way to tell which aspects of those electrical signals are important to thought, and which are irrelevant "non-information".

3 Bachs? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135718)

Bach is there 3 times. Why so much Bach? Why not some Vivaldi or Corelli? What if Aliens hate Bach? With more variety there's less chance of them hating all.

Record... ah, what? (1)

BevanFindlay (1636473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31162954)

Ok, so hang on, record brain impulses in the hope that someone can reconstruct them as thoughts? That's like saying "I'm going to record the hard drive and fan noises on my computer in the hope that someone can reconstruct the game I'm playing". Riiiight. That sounds like trying to get small pieces of a complex whole and expecting someone to be able to make use of it. And I thought Sagan was supposed to have been a respected scientist?
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