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Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 09:49:58 -0700
From: John Chalmers <[log in to unmask]>
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Subject: Re: infotainment: LANGUAGE EXPERTS SPEAK TO THE FUTURE
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Personally, I think future civilizations may mine radioactive waste
dumps as resources when all other economic sources of metals, isotopes,
fissionable materials have been exhausted. I imagine that many municipal
garbage dumps are richer in iron, tin, and other metals than some
deposits of low-grade ores now being mined commercially in North America.

Linguistics used to be a hobby of mine, BTW. I think posting the warning
in Navajo is a great gesture of PCness, but realistically, in 10 or 100
thousand years, no current language will still be spoken natively. In
fact, I doubt that Navajo will be spoken in a century -- many people
predict that Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, and perhaps Russian
will be the languages spoken by 90% or more of the earth in another
century. I suspect this gloomy picture is exaggerated -- I imagine
Arabic and French would survive for religious and chauvinistic reasons,
to say nothing of Japanese, Indonesian/Malay,etc. Of the 6000 or so
extant languages, most will be extinct in a century.


--john