Thursday, February 10, 2011

Earth Speaks. Is Anyone Listening?

Scientists have been listening for signals of intelligent life for decades and we haven't heard anything yet.  But when we do, what should humanity say back?  EarthSpeaks hopes to start answering that question.

All the EarthSpeaks team asks is for people to upload a phrase, picture, or sound they believe should be sent if we ever do make contact.  By collecting entries from across the globe a wide variety of perspectives can be obtained to better understand not just what can be said, but also how it may be understood or even misunderstood.  After all, we don't want create any cosmic faux pas!
Another important aspect is keyword tagging descriptions of each to identify common themes amongst the messages.  These too can be analyzed to understand the overall message people are attempting to communicate and not just the actual words (or images or sounds).  Fortunately, all they are asking is for less than five minutes of your time.

Getting Started is Easy:
  1. Visit the Earth Speaks web page and click over to the login screen.
  2. Register to use the site by providing your name, country, zip code and age.  Since everyone's entries are actually considered research on people (which is regulated), you will also need to eelctronically "sign" the consent form.
  3. Click on Submit Message to identify the type of message you wish to send (text, audio, or image). 
  4. Enter your text in the appropriate field or attach the image/audio file you wish to use.  You will also be asked for some keywords that best describe your message.
  5. That's it.  Go sign up, be creative, and have fun!
A tip of the hat  goes to science editor Alan Boyle whose article brought it to our attention.  So do him a favor and check it out the full article yourself.

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