Greetings From the People of Earth

I made the above video, Greetings from the People of Earth, to open the World Science Festival 2010 panel "The Search for Life in the Universe," which featured personal hero Jill Tarter, David Charbonneau, and Steven Squyres.

In 1977, taking advantage of a fortuitous alignment of planets, NASA dispatched two spacecraft named Voyager into space. These probes, now the farthest human-made objects from Earth, carry with them a unique recording, the Voyager Golden Record. Compiled by a team under Dr. Carl Sagan, the Golden Record holds images and sounds ranging from pulsar beeps and x-ray photographs, to songs of whales and human heartbeats. In addition, the Golden Record holds spoken greetings from the people of Earth, recorded in 55 languages both dead and alive. Listened to now, these recordings are tragi-beautiful, testament to a moment of unbridled scientific hope.

This video montage, Greetings from the People of Earth, is a meditation on these recordings, our loneliness, and the herculean, courageous task of SETI. The now-distant voices--all of whom make statements of earnest peace, curiosity, and goodwill, our best human attributes--are paired with images of the night sky from their countries of origin. It seems they are shouting out into the void; indeed, the people on the Golden Record (and perhaps our entire civilization) will be long gone by the time the Voyager craft pass within range of another star system.

Full video of "The Search for Life in the Universe" panel -- complete with live commenting and Q/A with some of the original panelists and top-notch guest moderators -- will soon be re-broadcast online on the World Science Festival website. Stay alert!

Ed: Thanks to Gizmodo, the Billionaire Boys Club, and the Daily Dish for the reposts!

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Their website has said, "replay coming soon" for two months now. Do you know if they're really going to put up the remaining videos anytime soon?

As far as I know, the rebroadcast of at least this particular panel is happening later this month. I'll post it up here when it happens!

Claire, you were gizmodo'd, which you've probably seen already.

All of the replays of the programs that were streamed live from this year's festival are up and viewable. I know it's just a handful, but at least they're high-quality and free:

As for the other ones from this year's festivities, we're hard at work building an exciting new video platform/library showcase filled with edited segments from this year's content, year's past, and cool new projects. It will also be a home to discuss many of the ideas and creative multidisciplinary collaborations featured in our year-round programming. Thanks for your patience, but hopefully you'll find it to be worth the wait.

The special interactive broadcast Claire mentioned above is yet something different, and is tentatively slated for Sept 2 or 3. Just waiting for one last participant to confirm. More soon...

Thanks for dropping and dropping some information, Greg!

I think it's quite the other way around. To rationalists, Jesus and God are just members of a pantheon from which names can be drawn, perhaps with some desired or metaphorical similarity to their use. A phone can be labelled the Jesus phone the same way a security protocol can be labeled Kerberos. Because there is no magic in names. Because the traditional myths have some tie to the names as reused. And because we don't take seriously the notion that we'll run into either mythical entity after we die.

The folks more likely to be offended by the reuse of these names are the ones who actually believe.