Aliens: most likely avid readers. Avid readers: most likely aliens?

A Reuters article currently making the rounds begins “Writing, rather than phoning, is probably the best way to contact extraterrestrials, American scientists said Wednesday.” Says Jimmy Beck:

They also urged would-be alien pen-pals to “show, don’t tell,” “read the classics,” “avoid simultaneous submissions,” and above all, “proofread your query letters, because even on Rigel 7, agents can still spot sloppy, careless writing. And remember: NO email queries and NO phone calls.”

An article in the journal Nature precipitated the buzz when it announced scientists have “concluded that a physical object would be a more efficient way to send a long message to the stars than a beam of radio waves.”

Speaking of physical objects designed to communicate with aliens, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology says Carl Sagan’s Murmurs of Earth, published in 1978, is “the definitive work” on the Voyager record and includes a full list of everything on it. The book was reissued in 1992 with a CD-rom of the record but, unfortunately, both editions are now out of print. It seems to me that the contents of that CD-rom would make a terrific website.


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