The 10,000-year dilemma is, in a nutshell, how do we convey danger to someone who may be living on our planet 10,000 years from today? More specifically we are creating nuclear waste that has a half-life with the possibility of hundreds of thousands of years. Waste that cannot be destroyed and must be stored. the RayKitty project was a thought project on communication and how it has changed throughout history, and how it may evolve in the far future. "In 1981, the US Department of Energy and the civil engineering company Bechtel Corp assembled a task force to help tackle the problem of how to warn future humans to stay away from radioactive nuclear waste sites thousands of years into the future. [...] An exploration of unusually creative problem-solving, the French director Benjamin Huguet’s film probes how the once-obscure, decades-old ‘ray-cat solution’ has recently found new life." Videos like The Raycat solution AEON Magazine propagate the idea of using the ever-present symbol of the cat as a warning sign.
Studying the reasoning as well as the science behind color-changing animals is something we are only beginning to understand. Here we highlight its applied significance for industry, innovation, and society. Both the nanophotonic, the way animals manipulate light on a nano-level, structures producing stunning optical effects and the color perception mechanisms in animals are extremely diverse. Consequently, there is a wealth of opportunity for biomimetic and bioinspired applications of animal coloration research, spanning color production, perception, and function. Fundamental research on the production and perception of animal coloration is contributing to breakthroughs in the design of new materials (cosmetics, textiles, paints, optical coatings, security labels) and new technologies (cameras, sensors, optical devices, robots, biomedical implants). In addition, discoveries about the function of animal color are influencing sport, fashion, the military, and conservation. Understanding and applying knowledge of animal coloration is now a multidisciplinary exercise. The goal here is to provide a catalyst for new ideas and collaborations between biologists studying animal coloration and researchers in other disciplines.
As you can imagine this is a somewhat far-fetched idea on how to protect future generations, but we require a sign or symbol. Symbols and signs are the essences of communicating both in our everyday lives as well as in our writings. People rely on symbols to keep us safe as well as to show us the directions to the nearest McDonald's. Things that are now viewed as warnings were once symbols of love or safety. Writeawriting.com speaks about the importance of symbolism in the written word.
So, if you had to design a symbol that would last for 10,000 years, what would you design?