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7.12.2017

Wednesday Words: Message on the Golden Record

Adrienne LaFrance on the Golden Record, a “cosmic postcard” sent out with the Voyager spacecrafts in 1977 to represent humanity to intelligent life:
The record, curated by a team led by the astrophysicist Carl Sagan, featured the music of Beethoven, Chuck Berry, Kesarbai Kerkar, and Blind Willie Johnson, and various folk music from around the world. Images, placed electronically on the phonograph, included photographs of a mother nursing her baby; a woman with a microscope; an astronaut in space, highway traffic in Ithaca, New York; the pages of an open book; a violin with sheet music; men laying bricks to build a house in Africa; a woman eating grapes at a supermarket; and a number of diagrams and illustrations of concepts like continental drift and vertebrate evolution. There were also audio clips depicting scenes of life on Earth—the sounds of rushing wind and the roar of ocean tides, whale songs, elephants trumpeting, human footsteps and human laughter.
It occurred to me last fall that I’d never actually heard the laughter track—and that I wanted to.
Keep reading here, as Adrienne sets out to solve the mystery of whose laughter is on the Golden Record. (And you can hear the golden record!) BOOM

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