By John Man
Compliment for Alpha Beta
"This booklet comes on the excellent second as we rediscover the significance in early studying of cracking the alphabetic code. the tale of the way that code got here into being is an interesting one, and guy is the best author to inform it." occasions academic Supplement
"A richly soaking up exploration, from B.C. to computers, of the evolution of the main basic characters of our cultural heritage, the alphabet we rather a lot take without any consideration. John guy writes with a compellingly stressed interest and immediacy. The ever astounding, exotically particular narrative in his informative e-book makes it as undryly relaxing as a profitable archaelogical dig of 1 of Alan Moorehead s colourful histories of African exploration." David Grambs, writer of The Describer s Dictionary and The Endangered English Dictionary
"Text that's crisp, taut, and as transparent as a bell.... a desirable tale with many a beguiling subplot alongside the way." New Scientist
"Letter excellent the simplest histories and mysteries of our ABC s!" Jeff McQuain, writer of by no means adequate phrases and tool Language
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Extra resources for Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World
The pictures clearly say: danger! Keep out! That was the intention. ’ in a way that could be understood by any culture, even one totally ignorant of their own past and of all previous languages? The attempt to find a solution ballooned out, through a Human Interference Task Force, to an Office of Nuclear Waste Isolation, to the Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco, until it landed in the laps of a team of specialists, among them Thomas A. Sebeok, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Semiotics at Bloomington, Indiana University.
Each pulsar is unique, with its own spin-time that is accurate to one part in 100 million, probably for hundreds of millions of years. Sagan chose fourteen ‘local’ pulsars and created a star-burst pattern that gave a rough indication of their direction and distance as seen from the centre of the Galaxy. Their frequencies in hydrogen-atom units he labelled in binary. Scientifically advanced aliens would, in theory, know about hydrogen atoms and pulsars, and thus be able to pinpoint the region from which the probes came.
In fact, more cynical minds point out that the intelligences to whom Sagan directed his message were right here on earth: members of Congress who provided the funding for further space projects, like the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a line of research close to Sagan’s heart, and the general public who, as a result of the publicity generated, would bring pressure to loosen pursestrings. Whatever appeals it may have for aliens, the plaque certainly appeals to those who still hold to the dream of perfect and pure communication.