how posterity will measure time

From: Steve Allen <sla_at_UCOLICK.ORG>
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 23:24:54 -0800

I ran across a diagram near bottom of web page
which shows precession of the north celestial pole over
roughly 15000 years starting now.

After some digging around I find that the context of the message is
how to communicate the fact that the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in
New Mexico contains nuclear waste which must not be disturbed.

page 42 of doe/wipp 04-3302
mentions level III warning diagram showing migration of celestial pole
over 10000 years (this must be the one above) and also level IV
warning diagram giving azimuths of rise of Vega, Arcturus, Sirius, &
contains links to many documents which explore the notions of how
any decision made now will be interpreted over the course of millenia.

So it seems that when it comes to communicating a span of time
to a civilization other than our own the solution that the best
minds have produced is an astronomical one.

Do I think that abandoning leap seconds will have the same sorts of
effects on future generations as drilling into nuclear waste storage?
No, but this does provide an interesting viewpoint on how posterity
might interpret the actions of the ITU-R, whether they abandon or not.

Steve Allen                 <>                WGS-84 (GPS)
UCO/Lick Observatory        Natural Sciences II, Room 165    Lat  +36.99858
University of California    Voice: +1 831 459 3046           Lng -122.06014
Santa Cruz, CA 95064     Hgt +250 m
Received on Sun Dec 03 2006 - 23:25:43 PST

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