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If the Earth was an apartment, the human race would be like your old roommate — long after we’re run, this place will still have our stink all over it. And like the old socks or half-eaten sandwiches you’re constantly find behind furniture, distant archaeologists will stumble upon the permanent marks we’re leaving on this planet and wonder what the hell was going on. For instance …

8

Future Earth Will Be Encompassed In Multicolored Rocks Made From Your Random Crap

Human beings have manufactured around six billion tons of plastic since we devised it around 100 years ago, and as useful as this stuff is, the downside is that it doesn’t ever go forth. Appear around you and see how much plastic is in the room you’re in right now — all that stuff is still going to exist ages from now. Granted, it will look a little different by then. Something like this 😛 TAGEND

It’s only in the past decade that scientists have started to discover the bizarre route that plastic is incorporating itself into our natural environment. Like Ben Grimm, it’s turning into rocks. Over several years of exposure to the elements, plastic clumps together and blend itself with boulders, sand, and minerals in the environment, rendering weird, brightly colored stones. Millennia from now, bumpy coasts could look like they’re made out of melted Lego bricks. Since they are realistically might be.

And it’s more than plastic. Other materials, such as glass, are also shaped by the environment into permanent reminders of how little of a shit we give about it. Future beaches might look like this 😛 TAGEND

That’s Ussuri Bay in Russia, where the ocean has spat up tons of broken glass and ceramic fragments, which years of water erosion have reshaped into cute little pebbles that definitely sounds like gummy candies. Don’t set them in your mouth, though. Seriously.

Yet another various forms of garbage-stone is known as Fordite, or Detroit Shale. It’s actually dozens of layers of paint rubbed from the floors of automobile mills, and it’s already so ubiquitous that people are turning it into jewelry and selling it.

7

The Same Way We Excavate Up Dinosaur Bones, Future Explorers Will Dig Up Fossilized Machines

If some kind of apocalypse knockings us back to the Stone Age and we retrieve enough to start digging up fossils again, then future archaeology is going to be really weird. On a long enough timescale, anything can be swallowed by the Earth and fossilized until we dig it up and stick it in a museum. That includes whatever you’re employing to read this article right now.

According to scientists writing for The Anthropocene Review , everything that we manufacture, from pens to garage doorways to tractors, will eventually be covered up by sand and clay and become “technofossils.” That sounds like a bullshit term made up for a Michael Bay movie, but it’s a real concept which children might learn in third grade one day.

Imagine future dig sites where people are employing little chisels and brushes to finely extract your PlayStation, or your phone charger, or your dildo( or your phone charger/ dildo ). And depending on how far removed our culture memory is from modern times, they’ll likely have no notion what half of this stuff even is. Future museums might look like Ariel’s treasure room from The Little Mermaid , with plaques explaining how forks were used for combing hair and cheese graters were defensive weapons.

And this has the potential to get weird. Imagine future scientists digging up the Neon Boneyard, the place where Las Vegas dumps all of its old neon signs. Or thousands of fossilized E.T .: The Video Game cartridges.

Dear lord, let’s hope they don’t find a way to play those games. Then they’ll genuinely abhor us .

6

If Humans Ever Forget What Satellites Are, Future Astronomers Will Be Screwed

Ever wondered what would happen to the over 1,000 active satellites orbiting the Earth right now if we suddenly lost the ability to maintain them? Like maybe there’s a nuclear apocalypse, or someone forgets the password. Well, most of them would fall back to Earth within 25 years, while others( the larger ones that operate health risks of surviving reentry and smacking some poor SOB in the face) are blasted further out into a 500 -year orbit at the end of “peoples lives”. The latter would be our great-great-great-great-grandchildren’s problem, but not ours.

But then there are the “geosynchronous” spacecrafts — the ones which are designed to precisely match the rotation of the Earth. To us, they look like ordinary starrings, except for the fact that they don’t move as the Earth rotates, as if they were creepily staring at us the whole hour( which they probably are, though the government denies it ). They’re calibrated so precisely that they don’t experience any drag or friction, which means that they won’t come down for literally billions of years. That’s some enviable stamina.

Now imagine the scenario that scientist and photographer Trevor Paglen proposed in 2016 while examining these objects: A thousand generations after the fall of civilization, a new society( be it human, talking puppy, or whatever) emerges from the dirt, survives its medieval period, and enters an Enlightenment. Some future Galileo analogue devises a telescope and points it to the sky in the hope of figuring out how the Solar system works, perhaps already harboring the suspicion that we’re a tinge of dust in an infinite cosmos of orbiting spheres … merely to get confused by the fact that a whole bunch of superstars never move at all. He hurls his( correct) telescope out the window and becomes a flute player.

It would be hundreds of years before we’d have the technology to correctly identify these unmoving starrings as space junk from a prior advanced civilization. Until then, we’d probably have developed some “Facebook group for flat Earth enthusiasts”-level wrong hypothesis about what starrings are and how the Universe operates. In short, we’ve already started trolling our future descendants without even realizing it.

5

We Might Create Color-Changing Cats To Keep Future Humans Away From Nuclear Waste

If history is anything to go by, human beings a mere couple of thousand years from now are going to be completely unable to understand our current speech. Ever tried to read Beowulf ? That shit was English at some phase, but now it looks like your friend sat on their phone with the chat window open.

You know what doesn’t change so quickly, though? Nuclear waste dumps, which will remain unsafe for tens of thousands of years. And this begs the question: How the hell do we keep humen away from there long after we’ve ceased to be able to interpret contemporary “Do Not Enter” signs? One of the fears is that no matter what symbols we come up with, future humans are going to construe them to mean “buried treasure, ” because the various “holy fuck severely do not excavate here” signs posted by ancient Egyptians didn’t run so well on Europeans.

Scientists have been devoting this conundrum a lot of think lately, and they’ve been coming up with some genuinelies bizarre notions about how to communicate hazard through the eons without using language. For instance, we could plausibly genetically engineer a race of Technicolor cats. This idea isn’t as insane as it voices. Or OK, maybe it is, but it’s one that they’ve been seriously considering. Because cats are likely to remain ubiquitous companions of humankind until the end of our species, if we could engineer them to change color in the presence of radioactive material, theoretically, future humans might learn to associate such color-changing felines with danger and remain the hell away. That or we’ll think they’re witches and burn them all.

Other ideas include trying to create some type of religion, a so-called “Atomic Priesthood” which keeps future generations away from trash dumps, like the guardians in the non-Tom-Cruise version of The Mummy . Others suggest we could cover waste sites in a “Landscape of Thorns” — fields of jagged, impassable, ominous stones that would induce excavation both difficult and frightening. Future people might think we’re dicks, but hey, at least their dicks won’t fall off.

We’re truly hoping for the color-changing cats scenario, though. That voices awesome.

4

The Hoover Dam Was Designed To Be The Great Pyramid For Future Ages

Of all the monuments that humankind has created during its dominion over countries around the world, one of the most, uh, monumental, is Arizona’s Hoover Dam. It’s estimated that it’ll keep chugging away for around 10,000 years, even if a catastrophe knockings back our civilization an epoch or three and we forget what it is. Should that happen, future civilizations are going to ask a lot of issues concerning this place and its weird-ass artwork.

See, the Hoover Dam site is lousy with sculptures by Norwegian-American artist Oskar J.W. Hansen, who was commissioned by the nation government to make some artwork that would transform the Dam from only another public works project into a downright Wonder of the Modern World. And Hansen did precisely that, decorating the dam with sculptures like two 20 -foot-tall bodybuilders made of bronze with wings on their backs. According to Hansen, they represent “the immutable pacify of intellectual resolving, and the enormous power of trained physical strength, equally enthroned in placid triumph of scientific accomplishment.”

Hansen had greater aspirations for the dam than it being a big power station. He compared it to the Great Pyramid, and wishes also to stand as an equal testament to mankind. And like the Great Pyramid, he covered it in hieroglyphics that nobody will be able to understand now that he’s too dead to explain them. On top of the Sphinx-like Winged Figures, the dam is decorated with bas-reliefs …

USBR
Future people will be impressed that we made this before we invented clothes .

… and celestial maps which cryptically record the date that Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the structure in September 1935. The starring chart was generated so that “those versed in astronomy could calculate the precession[ progressively earlier occurrence] of the Pole Star for approximately the next 14,000 years.” We imagine our descendants will probably be disappointed if they ever decipher these emblems and discover they just uncover the date that the dam opened, and not, like, the cure for cancer or something actually useful.

3

Mount Rushmore Will Be The Last Monument To Humanity

Flash forward seven million years from now. Humankind is gone. Either we Mad Max -ed ourselves into oblivion or blasted off into space and left our dying planet to its fate. By this time, the Earth has swallowed every trace of our once-great civilization. If foreigners ever visit our world long after we have succumbed, only one solitary monument will remain. And that is … American jingoism, baby!

According to the intellectuals who study the legacy of humanity long after it’s perished, the presidential carving at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota is likely to be the last human construction that remains after the Earth’s natural housework processes blow away every other trace of our existence. The dirt, sand, and oceans will sink our cities beneath the ground, but Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Lincoln, and anyone else we add( Kanye ?) will continue to stare down at a planet otherwise swept clean.

That’s because the Black Hills, where the monument is, happens to be one of the most tectonically stable places on Earth. On top of that, the statues are carved out of solid Precambrian granite, one of the most severe naturally occurring boulders on countries around the world. According to science writer Alan Weisman, writer of The World Without Us , the faces on Mount Rushmore is likely to be recognizable for around 7.2 million years, barring some freak event like a direct asteroid crash or alien death ray.

Kjsmith4 7/ iStock
Which is moot, since no species that advanced would be stupid enough to fuck with Teddy Roosevelt .

And this isn’t a coincidence. The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, chose the site specifically so that the sculpture would “last forever.” In fact, he even specified that the statues should be three inches thicker than the ideal measurement, so that the natural eroding would take a few million years longer. He was pretty fond of presidents and/ or faces.

As an addendum, there is a similar sculpture which geologists suppose might last almost as long: the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial in Georgia. Also engraved into solid, nigh-impenetrable granite, the statue is kind of the anti-Mount Rushmore, illustrating Confederate figures Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and the appropriately named Stonewall Jackson. Just saying, it’s remotely possible that the final surviving testament to human civilization will be a celebration of slavery.

2

Future Alien Explorers Will Probably Assume We Were A Burrowing Species

Let’s look forward to around a hundred million years after we disappear. Even Mount Rushmore is run. Earth looks like a brand-new planet never before touched by intelligent life. Would some foreigner guest ever know that we were here? They likely would, but they would likely assume that we were some kind of giant Dune Sandworm-like creatures, due to our final legacy: a whole bunch of tunnels.

Why passageways? Because natural environmental erosion tends to erase everything on the surface fairly quickly if people aren’t around to maintain it — like shaking an Etch-a-Sketch, but really slowly and measured in geological epochs. Under the ground, however, such erosion doesn’t occur. In fact, an important factor in the science of geology is studying the passageways dug by burrowing beasts such as worms, rabbits, moles, and woodchucks, since these burrows remain there long after the animals that induced them have been relegated to evolution’s dustbin.

Well, for all intents and purposes, human being are a burrowing species too, though on a much greater scale. Animals might build tunnels and burrows, but we build metroes, boreholes, and ours. The ( sexy) term for this is “anthroturbation, ” and it will be the last evidence that we existed. Things like the Salt Lake City mines and the London Underground will probably remain until the end of the Earth itself. This brings up an interesting point for those searching for alien life: Instead of looking for alien cities and giant Mars faces, “were supposed” be looking for evidence of ancient extraterrestrial subway systems.

1

In A Bizarre Twist, Scientists Are Running Back To Recording Our Knowledge On Stone Tablets

No matter how long human civilization continues to trundle along, future archaeologists who try to get a glimpse of our world will probably expressed the view that we were all wiped out sometime in the late 20 th century. After all, that’s when we stopped writing things down. Digging up fossilized computers won’t do our future descendants any good, because no data on those machines will be recoverable. In fact, as we’ve covered before, we’ll be lucky if we can construe today’s computer software 50 years from now, let alone in a million years. The digitization of information and the large-scale purging of hard transcripts has made all of human knowledge compact and convenient, but it also put an expiry dates on all of that stuff. If we vanish tomorrow, then the totality of our blended human knowledge will last only as long as the batteries in our Kindles.

With this in mind, some scientists have decided to go full circle, preserving the legacy of human knowledge use the best method we’ve ever figured out: etching it on stone tablets and burying it in the desert.

Memory Of Mankind
They’re even scattering these coins with their locating around the world so future generations can know what an unhelpful map looks like .

The Memory of Mankind Project intends to utilize the one technology that mankind has gotten progressively worse at over hour — data storage — and etch as much of our knowledge, history, popular fiction, and cultural activities into the surface of a number of ceramic plates, which they will then bury deep in an abandoned Austrian salt mine. Millions of years hence, the hope is that our future descendants will stumble across a treasure trove of ancient plaques which will teach them everything from modern calculus to the relativity formula to the recipe for a really great chili to … Pepe the Frog.

Yeah, the MoMP people aren’t the only ones seeking to create an eternal ceramic legacy to mankind’s “achievements.” In 2017, the website 9Gag also bankrolled research projects to inter a carved stone tablet deep beneath the Earth for the benefit of future generations. But far away from the collected enlightenment of a foregone past, its purpose is to record internet memes. You know, like Dickbutt, Philosoraptor, and Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen. On second thought, we deserve oblivion.

S. Peter Davis is the creator of the Three Minute Philosophy YouTube series, and is the author of the book Occam’s Nightmare . Get your cat ready for business because let’s face it, cats are going to take over the Earth . If you loved this article and want more content like this, support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page . Also check out 7 Insane Problems We’ll Have To Deal With In The Future and 5 Visions of the Future From Experts( Who Should Be Fired ) . Are in favour of our YouTube channel, and check out Why ‘Space Aliens’ Might Just Be Humans from the Future, and watch other videos you won’t insure on the site !

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