Expert Judgement on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
The Brain Trust at Sandia National Labs is attempting to design an entire landscape around the nuclear waste dump of the great Southwest – one that will say “go away” to humans for the next 10,000 years, regardless of changes in climate or culture. Among the more descriptive proposals are: Landscape of Thorns, Menacing Earthworks, and Forbidding Blocks. Artists’ concept sketches can be found near the middle of the document.The more I read this, the more I got visions of Mordor, the land of Scorch (from Wizards), the ancient complex of the Great Ones under Antarctica from Lovecraft’s The Mountains of Madness, and strangely enough, the rock formations from the ’80s movie Dune. Creeeepy.
In 1086AD, somebody thought it would be a good idea to write down all kinds of stuff about the King in a book. That document has endured for nearly a thousand years and is of great interest to historians. In 1986, somebody thought it would be a good idea to make a modern-day equivelent, preserved in the latest, indestructable technology, for the next millenium’s historians. That document lasted about 15 years, and is now almost completely unreadable.
Contrast our ability to preserve and disseminate our culture to the kind of legacy we’re leaving for the next 10,000 years. Remember how the futuristic Legion of Superheroes always says that few records survived from our time? And you thought it was just so that DC didn’t have to give away the endings…