Idea Festival

Last week’s Earth Harp performance (see below) was sponsored by the Idea Festival , an interesting symposium of technology and art, or, according to its own description, “a unique international event centering around the presentation, integration and exploration of “big ideas” and innovation, spanning a range of fields.”

Before Friday’s performance, one of the organizers mentioned some of the other scheduled activities, including the “launch” of a deep time probe into space from the courthouse lawn. I thought “Yeah, right!”. This morning’s newspaper explained that it’s a laser beam digitally encoded with the kind of information that might normally be included in a time capsule.

That’s a pretty cool idea. I really believe there is intelligence elsewhere in the universe. I’m not a National Enquirer alien abduction fan, but as vast as the universe is, it would seem arrogant to believe that our little teeny speck contains the only intelligent life. I realize the chances of a pulse of light hitting the right speck of space at the right time to be caught by a civilization that can decode it are infinitesimally small. Would we be ready to interpret such a “probe” if one hit us? Have we already missed one? But it’s a pretty low-cost approach to trying to communicate with others, realizing that at best, the communication will be one-way.

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