Monday, July 15, 2013

What do structures look like when they're in lower-case?

Copyright: NASA
A couple of months ago, I was watching "The X-Files"* and I saw this image flash up on the screen -- turns out to be one of the pictures that's on "The Golden Record" that's on the Voyager spacecraft.

I thought there was something rather odd-looking about it, and what I note is both the unique font (with backwards serifs (is that the term?)) and lower-case structures.

I welcome our alien overlords, but if they're using lower-case letters in their structures, it will be cause for interstellar war.

*The excellent episode "Little Green Men"


  1. Why did they leave the DNA base pairs in caps, then? I've heard that lower-case letters are more readable (the letter forms) are more easily distinguished than for upper-case ones, but that's doesn't make sense if the artist left the base pairs in caps.

    Also, in the DNA, they seem to be using G-S base-pairing rather than G-C. Why?

    1. I'm pretty sure S was used instead of C to not confuse it with carbon atoms. It's not easy to differentiate big C from little c. The base pairs in caps might be to distinguish groups of atoms from individual atoms (not that aliens will have a distinct notion of intricacies of the Latin alphabet).

  2. See the comment by Andrew, posted 12/7/2012 at 3:50 AM here:

    Also note the Bohr depictions of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus.

  3. Perhaps this was an attempt to misguide any Aliens who might want to duplicate our DNA


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