(This is unrelated to fractals; but you mentioned the waste isolation signage problem: How are we going to convince future generations that a site loaded with the stuff that every dynasty and empire of the 20th and 21st centuries aspired to have, for the immense power it would afford them, is something they should stay away from? Is there a single fantasy/sci-fi series where the ‘poorly understood Superweapon Of The Ancients’ doesn’t get dug up, generally in order to precipitate the total clusterfuck that the plot then has to unravel?)
Also, the design proposal at the KSU link looks far too cool. I’d visit that even knowing that it was a radioactive dump.
This is a bit off topic too, but I thought you all might be interested that there is a new use for Pascal’s Triangle.
I came up with the question, please scroll down five messages to see how this relates to Pascal’s Triangle:
You have a combination padlock with four dials on it. Each dial has the numbers 0 through 4 on them. The lock can have as many 0s as dials, and is set to 0000 by default. The lock does not allow you to use any number between 1 and 4 two or more times in the combination. The following combinations are valid: 0123 1234 0103 0010 4031. The following combinations are invalid: 0113 4014 0202 4444. How many possible combinations are there?
The whole ‘point’ of fractals is that complexity emerges from dead simple processes. They aren’t mysterious in the least. That is why they are interesting.
As any archaeologist can tell you it’s a bad idea to mark the site of the WIPP (or similar sites).You mark something and a few years later some dumbfuck comes along that starts digging because he’s looking for buried treasure.
Choose a place that has been geologically and climatically stable for the last few thousand years, make it indistinguishable from the surrounding ground and put the warning signs a few meters below ground.
Wow, I highly recommend making it dow to the ‘DNA sequence’ section and reading it. A few mind-opening realizations of the underlying semantics of the algorithm. I love learning this way, thanks for posting this!
How the Chaos Game can show that there’s fractal behaviors at play without understanding the fractal nature implicitly was fascinating.
I recommend reading his other linked article, as they cover the storage waste problem… They try to convey the gestalt that what is there is lethal to anyone that tries to use it, that it’s waste with nothing to be desired. A tricky proposition when you’re considering a culture 10,000 years in the future that likely won’t share your language, or even societal mores.
Yeah, staying on this off-topic (sorry) there was an interesting article I read a few years ago, about a panel convened to think about how they could clearly communicate to future generations that “this nuclear waste site is bad, and we really mean it!”
The panel roughly defined the intended message with the following:
This place is a message… and part of a system of messages… pay attention to it! Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
This place is not a place of honor…no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here.
What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.
etc., and then creating the visual cues that would communicate that message.
My thinking was: that’s a laudable goal to be sure. But have such messages ever stopped modern archeologists?
Cursed be those who disturb the rest of a Pharaoh. They that shall break the seal of this tomb shall meet death by a disease that no doctor can diagnose.*
Sounds just as believable…
There is a Triforce hidden in that page.
To distinguish it from the many other triangles, it is the correct color for a Triforce.
There is also a random leaf.
It turns out that the oft-quoted stuff about trying to build a physical plant that didn’t appeal to future treasure hunters was one of the ideas they decided to try to incorporate as best they could-- but with no hope that it would be enough. The real way they hoped to keep people off was to leave notes all over the place explaining exactly what the stuff was and why it was dangerous. For instance, the plan for the Level III text was
These standing stones mark an area used to bury radioactive wastes.
The area is … by … kilometers (or … miles or about … times the
height of an average full-grown male person) and the buried waste is
… kilometers down. This place was chosen to put this dangerous
material far away from people. The rock and water in this area may not
look, feel, or smell unusual but may be poisoned by radioactive
wastes. When radioactive matter decays, it gives off invisible energy
that can destroy or damage people, animals, and plants.
Do not drill here. Do not dig here. Do not do anything that will
change the rocks or water in the area.
Do not destroy this marker. This marking system has been designed to
last 10,000 years. If the marker is difficult to read, add new markers
in longer-lasting materials in languages that you speak. For more
information go to the building further inside. The site was known as
the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) site when it was closed in …
Written in multiple languages, including Navajo. And beyond that was (A) the Level IV text, which was a primer intended to explain enough about chemistry, atomic theory, and radioactivity for people to understand the sorts of things they were dealing with, and, (B) the Level V text, which was to be documentation about everything as complete as they could manage.
The PDF is available at Expert judgment on markers to deter inadvertent human intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
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