[NetBehaviour] Helping send tweets into space!

Nathaniel Stern nathaniel.stern at gmail.com
Sat May 12 15:49:03 CEST 2012


Hi Helen:

Thanks again for your interest. I'll admit it's a bit hard to answer questions like these regarding safety, where there's an abstract sense of unease, some floating theories, and I'm asked to take account for something not quite accountable (perhaps, I should say, yet). Still, by the time our signal reaches a habitable planet, it will be weaker than most electromagnetic "signals" (well, waves - they aren't really signals if there's no pattern in them) that occur naturally - in space, on planets, etc. If the aliens have no systems that use signals, it will not harm anything that can "live" in their environment, in any sense of the word, as the environment is right now; and if they do have such systems, they will be sending signals at a higher amplitude than what we are sending by the time our signal gets there. Our wifi does not disrupt planes or shuttles or televisions or phones, for example - and this has more to do with strength than frequency. I can't say there is absolutely no risk - that would be extremely irresponsible (tho we are not sending microwaves or x-rays - also invisible, but understood by everyone as harmful; these are high frequency) - but I can say beyond any reasonable doubt that what we are sending in terms of electromagnetism will only differ from what naturally occurs already in that it has an embedded pattern, with intelligent language (so to speak - it is Twitter, after all). The examples you give - the theories you are abstractly aware of but don't have time to look up - have to do with long exposure and higher than naturally occurring amplitudes.

Which bring us to the next question embedded within your safety ones. How will it be received? We have to make a fair number of assumptions: they are out there, they are listening, they also use radio, and they are intelligent enough to pick out patterns and understand their complexity from around the noise. A lot of assumptions, and part of the fun - in fact part of the "work" of the work in how we think it, how it per-forms with us / one another (both today and on transmission day).

I hope this helps. Warmly,

nathaniel
http://nathanielstern.com



On May 12, 2012, at 8:06 AM, helen varley jamieson wrote:

> hi nathaniel (& scott),
> yes i'm familiar with the wikipedia art project :)
> 
> i don't really know that much about frequencies, but i'm aware of theories that attribute bee colony collapse in part to the increase in electromagnetic frequencies bouncing around the place; & i know people who believe they are also sensitive to this kind of interference. it's easy to dismiss it because it's invisible. (& if only i had an extra 24 hours in the day i would have time to learn more about it all ... )
> 
> what about interference with the aliens' own navigation & communication systems? do you know what kinds of systems they might have & how your signal will be received when it arrives somewhere?
> 
> h : )
> 
> On 12/05/12 2:22 PM, Nathaniel Stern wrote:
>> Hi Helen:
>> 
>> Thanks for your interest in our work. I'm not sure if you've seen the chapter Scott and I wrote on Wikipedia Art for the CPOV book (free), but I believe a blog comment you once wrote about it is cited towards the end of the chapter.
>> 
>> Anyhow, the radio waves we're sending out are high enough frequency that they will travel well, but low enough to not be harmful - they'll be close to 2.4 GHz, the same we use for our WiFi routers in our houses. The amplitude will be much much higher, so I wouldn't stand in the dish or aim it at electronics or anything like that (interference issues), but once it breaks through our own atmosphere and travels further out of our own solar system (and we can be careful to point it line of sight not to hit anything for that far), it will be disperse enough not to cause any trouble, while still tight enough to be picked up as an intelligent pattern for many light years to go. The actual strength of our signal, and guaranteed distance we can say it will travel, will depend entirely on how much we manage to fundraise...
>> 
>> nathaniel
>> http://nathanielstern.com
>> 
>> 
> 
> -- 
> ____________________________________________________________
> 
> helen varley jamieson: creative catalyst
> helen at creative-catalyst.com
> http://www.creative-catalyst.com
> http://www.make-shift.net
> http://www.upstage.org.nz
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