Binary in fiction is often laughable to an engineer like me. You’ve all seen the same scenes I have. A scientific research facility gets a signal from outer space. After several try/fail cycles, one of the junior scientists has a Eureka! moment.
“Eureka! It’s binary!” the scientist says. [At least, I hope not. I really hope the writer does a better job than that. But, you get the idea.]
Within hours (or even minutes), the engineer translates the entire message to perfection (with images and blueprints even!) and we understand the message being sent by the alien civilization. We can then march off and build our new teleportation device, space ship, poverty-fixing widget, or, perhaps, merely learn the meaning of life.
Only one problem. Binary, in a vacuum, doesn’t simply translate directly to English words. Trust me…it doesn’t even do it in a Roomba. (Ba-dump-tis)
The upshot is this: You cannot simply translate binary to English (or any other language) without additional information.
Let’s find out why and how to fix it so that your scientist can at least appear to know what they’re talking about.Read More