The Raycat Solution and Warning the Future
Problem: you are burying nuclear waste that will linger for 10,000 years. How do you ensure that people in the future will not be harmed by this waste? How do you send a clear message 10,000 years into the future, when language and culture will have changed in unforeseeable ways?
One solution? Raycats. What’s a raycat? This 15 minute documentary does a lovely job of explaining it.
This kind of problem is a science fiction writer’s playground. I’m spending a lot of time this weekend thinking about both the problem and the raycat solution. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, Gregory Benford wrote a book about it called Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia. I’ve now added that to my reading list. Hat-tip to Brian Malow for the recommendation there.
My personal idea to solve the communication problem for something you want to keep people away from would be a structure that somehow naturally create infrasound. It’s been shown in a few studies that infrasound can be used to simulate a haunted feeling. Why rely on visuals to creep people out when you can creep them out viscerally with sound waves? There are other ways to accomplish “ghostly” phenomena too, including carbon monoxide.
This video also serves as a reminder to me to find more time to listen to 99% invisible.