What things might or might not mean, to unknown (maybe unknowable) observers

Stephen Wolfram offers a raft of things that might or might have meanings. Wolfram also offers thoughts on whether those meanings—if they are meanings—were intended to mean what we may think they might mean.

This is part of Wolfram meandering down mean streets of thought about whether and how it’s possible to make things that would be meaningful to people (or whatever) from utterly different places and times. Aliens from somewhere way across the universe, for example.

The thought-piece is called “Showing Off to the Universe: Beacons for the Afterlife of Our Civilization.” Here’s one of its examples:

Almost exactly 50 years ago, as a young child vacationing in Sicily, I picked up this object on a beach:

Being very curious what it was, I took it to my local archaeology museum. “You’ve come to the wrong place, young man,” they said, “it’s obviously a natural object.” So off I went to a natural history museum, only to be greeted with “Sorry, it’s not for us; it’s an artifact”. And from then until now the mystery has remained (though with modern materials analysis techniques it could perhaps be resolved—and I obviously should do it!)

 

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