Today’s post comes to you in the form of the following hypothetical situation: Aliens have landed on Earth before embarking on a 5 year road trip around the galaxy (they can travel really fast – that’s how they got here.) For whatever reason, they asked you if you wanted to come along, and because you, like me, believe that exploring the universe is one of the most important, worth while, and freaking awesome endeavors in the universe for any living creature, you agreed. During this 5 year trek, you will be exploring the highlights of our galaxy, with the scientific help of the friendly aliens, of course, but you will also be learning about their culture and teaching them about ours. You have 24 hours to gather everything you might need for such a journey. Assume that any scientific instrumentation and basic necessities will be provided by the aliens, and that they can also power any electronic equipment you bring. Though you will be able to send periodic messages back to Earth, the connection isn’t fast enough for phone calls (or Facebook,) but you might still want to bring a computer. Be sure to include any books, information, music, devices, gadgets, even pets that you might need for yourself or to teach the aliens about us. Post your galactic road trip preparedness list in the comments – I want to see what you would pack! Ready? Go!
I’ll cover what prompted this in next week’s post, but for now I’ll give you some ideas by telling you what I would bring:
- The largest volume of the most reliable storage I can get my hands on. I’m thinking at least 10 two Terabyte drives (or larger if I can get them.) I would use them to store all of my files as well as information about human culture and anything I would learn along the way.
- Wikipedia. And Encarta. And Oxford English Dictionary. And any other digital encyclopedia I could get a hold of. Why multiple? Wikipedia, while it is as accurate as most other commercial encyclopedias, does have a few errors, and if you’re going to be away from home for that long doing something that important, it’s a good idea to have as many sources as possible.
- I would remove Mac OS X from my computer and switch entirely to Linux. Why? No, not just because I’m a Linux hippie, but because Linux represents no individual or single corporation. Mac is a product of Apple, and Windows a product of Microsoft – they represent a small collection of individuals whose goal is to increase wealth, and the best way they can accomplish that is by building software. Linux was built by it’s users for fun, and does not represent any desire for wealth. I wouldn’t want to support one corporation in an endeavor that should be equally open to all mankind.
- Lots of music. Music is very important to our culture and our existence, and any explanation of our customs and society cannot be complete without music.
- My dog. I couldn’t live without my dog.
- My Makerbot, because I think that it’s pretty cool. And I want to be able to use it in my free time.