Selecting an item for aliens that best represents Earth

A newspaper. Any newspaper, as long as it’s not too partisan.

They’re saving you. What, you want they should stuff EVERYONE into the Buick sized object?

They have the ability to transverse interstellar distances, it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine they can, some how, save Earth’s population.

A dollar. Well, assuming that they’re not the ones going to blow up the earth, in which case I’d chose a thermonuclear bomb. Actually, now that I think about it…

Vox Imperatoris

Kill the messenger

I quit. What should have been a fun thread about choosing an item that best represents earth is getting thread-shit. Thanks for playing.

Invisible thread.

Damn, that was nearly verbatim what I wanted to suggest.

Does a dollar bill rolled into an empty ammunition shell casing count as one item?

One of each major currency, perhaps.

Best represents earth/humans? Easy:
Bottle of wine - it looks and smells good, but is actually the result of an organism drowning in it’s own shit. (yeast convert sugar to alcohol until there is to much alcohol for them to live).

:confused: People have been continuing to suggest items that represent the Earth. I only mentioned the part about the thermonuclear bomb because it tells a lot of things about human society. I do like the dollar idea more, though: you get a fair number of English words, the dominant language; the Great Seal of the United States, reasonably considered the dominant country; a picture of George Washington, a famous leader, a picture of a pyramid, one of the best known monuments of ancient societies; and it represents capitalism, the dominant economic system.

Vox Imperatoris

ETA: And it may contain trace amounts of cocaine, the dominant helluva drug. :wink:

I think I’d be inclined to put some non-fiction books in, both the educational sort and the more coffee-table sort with lots of beautiful pictures. Books about plant life, animal life, engineering technology etc, and copies of some of the major religious texts, including books on ancient mythology.

For any space-faring species that wants to know what was here and how we made sense of it, that’d be a good start, although there’s no way you could cover everything, even picking-and-choosing the very best books and information available.

I think it might have to be print version over digital, sadly, because there’s no guarantees the alien life forms have compatible systems to read our digital data.

I had interpreted the question as a single object, up the size of a Buick, not as filling a Buick up with objects. That definitely expands your options, but I think it makes the question less interesting.

Vox Imperatoris

The question in the OP reminds me of a story I read years ago about a an old farmer who is the point of contact. He ends up negotiating a trade deal for the alien’s tech, and guess what Terran idea he sells to them?


I wish I could remember the name of the story, or the author. Had to be at least 30 years ago that I first read it. I guess I’ll have to start re-reading all my anthologies. :slight_smile:

I’ve been thinking about this for the last half hour or so - I think I’d take a grand piano, preferably a Bösendorfer. To me, there is nothing so quintessentially human as a piano; it serves no survival based function, it takes up space, it requires enormous resources and teamwork to make one, it takes a effort to maintain it. It serves no purpose except to make music.

Let them puzzle that one through - it existed solely to make beautiful sound.

Applause for your thoughts and answer.

I have also been pondering this issue for over a day. I keep wondering if there’s something unique to Earth that extends in importance beyond what human beings have done with it. So far, I’m trapped in my anthropomorphic mind.

Chocolate and coffee.

I don’t know - I gotta say, I’m with Rigamarole. A Big Mac. And a large fry, and a large chocolate shake. Value meal 'em.

Well, what better to represent the Earth than…the Earth?

Grab a rock about the size of a 1952 Buick and a couple of handfuls of dirt.

Oops. Missed this part. What will I choose? I’ll choose to take him to a damn liquor store. Old Milwaukee? Are you NUTS?