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I saw this yesterday on Reddit (I'm off from work due to the Rodeo, dont'cha know -- one of the perks of being underpaid) and wanted to post it here, mainly for posterity, but also because it's cool as shit.

The Arecibo Message

The message sent in 1974 from the Arecibo radio telescope toward the globular cluster M13 consisted of 1679 “bits” of information. Sent in binary, a “0” is represented by an “off” radio pulse, while a “1” is represented by an “on” radio pulse.

0000001010101000000000000101000001010000000100100010001000100
1011001010101010101010100100100000000000000000000000000000000
0000011000000000000000000011010000000000000000000110100000000
0000000000101010000000000000000001111100000000000000000000000
0000000001100001110001100001100010000000000000110010000110100
0110001100001101011111011111011111011111000000000000000000000
0000010000000000000000010000000000000000000000000000100000000
0000000001111110000000000000111110000000000000000000000011000
0110000111000110001000000010000000001000011010000110001110011
0101111101111101111101111100000000000000000000000000100000011
0000000001000000000001100000000000000010000011000000000011111
1000001100000011111000000000011000000000000010000000010000000
0100000100000011000000010000000110000110000001000000000011000
1000011000000000000000110011000000000000011000100001100000000
0110000110000001000000010000001000000001000001000000011000000
0010001000000001100000000100010000000001000000010000010000000
1000000010000000100000000000011000000000110000000011000000000
1000111010110000000000010000000100000000000000100000111110000
0000000010000101110100101101100000010011100100111111101110000
1110000011011100000000010100000111011001000000101000001111110
0100000010100000110000001000001101100000000000000000000000000
0000000001110000010000000000000011101010001010101010100111000
0000001010101000000000000000010100000000000000111110000000000
0000001111111110000000000001110000000111000000000110000000000
0110000000110100000000010110000011001100000001100110000100010
1000001010001000010001001000100100010000000010001010001000000
0000001000010000100000000000010000000001000000000000001001010
00000000001111001111101001111000


This picture was generated by arranging the 1679 bits above into 23 columns of 73 rows, 23 and 73 being the two prime numbers, which when multiplied together equal 1679. A box representing a “one” has been colored black, while a box representing “zero” has been colored white. Unfortunately, the image is “parity reversed, ” i.e., it was generated by scanning right to left, i.e., the first bit in the message occupies the upper row, rightmost cell. The next bit is the in the top row, next cell proceeding to the left. Many books have printed the picture this way. Maybe they think aliens are likely to be left-handed or maybe it is meant to tell them that all the amino acids that make up proteins in life on Earth are “left-handed” except for those that have no handedness. You should be able to see, though, that the "handedness" of the image is completely irrelevant.


























Here, I’ve redrawn the first figure according to normal convention by filling the cells left to right. In other words, the first bit occupies the left-most, upper row cell, and so on. Also, I’ve colored the 1’s and left the 0’s black.

 
Arecibo message, colour coded

Numbers 1-10



Atomic numbers for H, C, N, O, P



Formulas for sugars, bases and phosphate in DNA nucleotides


Double helix structure of DNA surrounding binary number that represents the number of nucleotides in the human genome.


Height of human being marked on the left and human population marked on right


Schematic of solar system (human stands on 3rd planet)

Arecibo transmitting telescope


Diameter of telescope


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