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Project KEO: Explore humanity

Once upon a time, on the edge of a distant galaxy, was a planet called Earth. On this planet lived and exceptionally gifted species: Man. This species possessed such knowledge and talent that before long, it was able to exert an influence on its own destiny. It was at that moment that each member of this species was offered an equal opportunity to testify life, their own life. Holding a mirror up to ourselves in the year 2006, this record would convey both the richness and diversity of the human experience."

Imagine recording a message that will traverse through outer space for years and years... 50,000 years, to be precise, and then return to Earth so that our descendents can read about the way we were. If that sounds like a fairy tale or science fiction, think again. It is as real as reading this article!

Project KEO is about a satellite doing just that: traversing through space for the next 500 centuries, carrying information, images, and messages from present-day humans, then returning to touch base with Planet Earth so that our descendents will know how life on earth was in 2005 CE.

"Everyone is invited to leave their message that will transcend time and space and reach out to our distant descendants. Each of us has 4 uncensored pages at our disposal; in which to express ourselves and who we are to describe what makes us tick as individuals; to bequeath a unique and personal "blueprint" to future generations. To witness life on this planet, our life. This is an invitation to reflect on ourselves in a different way. Through our own personal message, we can attest our own personality. Through reading each other's messages from all over the world, we may rediscover our common humanity."

Project KEO has invited messages from all over the world till the end of this year. These messages will be loaded on to the satellite before the satellite is launched into space at the end of AD 2006. The idea behind Project KEO is to transmit the messages of ordinary people living on Earth today to our descendents, telling them whatever it is that they wish to convey. All messages, whether of one line or a maximum of four pages (6,000 characters), will be included, uncensored, on the KEO satellite.

Right from KEO's launch around 2006, all of us can know about each other's experiences by logging on to the internet, where all the messages, made anonymous will be accessible to all. By sharing each other's experiences, by understanding each other's aspirations, we can know each other better and thus live together in harmony.

To make ensure it's survival within these long years, the spherical KEO satellite has several anti-shock, anti-cosmic, anti-debris, anti-meteoric and thermal shields that will protect it during its 50,000-year-long space odyssey. It shall be adorned with wings that will flutter in response to temperature variations in outer space. The influence of planetary and lunar attraction, and the laws of ballistics, will make it return to Earth.

The project will be the largest collective artwork ever undertaken in the history of humanity, and UNESCO has designated KEO as the 'Project of the 21st century'. "In keeping with the glorious human creations that flag the history of humanity, KEO will be penned down in the same league as that of the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China, as a universal masterpiece that is the porter of the collective memory of the inhabitants of the 21st century who wish to address themselves to their future descendants. Each person is invited to participate free of cost in this project."

Some extracts of the messages:
… "I envy the people in the future when they find the capsule and read the billion letters from all the people. I hope it will help them feel they have it good, or that they could have done better. Either way it will help them to realize how clever we really are. I tingle with excitement every time I think that people from the far, far future will be reading my letter and realizing what it was really like in those days. Thank you for saving a little space for my letter in your wonderful satellite"…

Jackson, 14 years, Spain
"… Dear Future Beings, I am writing to you with optimistic hope that you exist, that you have the science and technology to decipher this, and that you have the incentive and freedom to do so. One of my great interests is palaeontology. It is ironic that if my physical remains exist at all now, they are probably in the form of fossils-similar to those fossils that have decorated my home…"

Chris, 45 years, USA
"… I'll tell you how to make hamburgers. You need: 1 pound ground lean beef 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 4 tomato slices (if you like them)…"

Joshua, 10 years, Canada
" I was born in Afghanistan but live in Canada. If in 50 000 years, people still inhabit this world my message to you would be to please become blind to the plagues of human suffering that have devoured our planet for many millennia. I hope that in the future you see humanity and its diversity in one unified colour and that you have abolished the racism and the stereotypes that your ancestors were guilty of. I hope that you live in peace and that you have stepped into a light unparalleled to the dark manifestation that exists in my time. I hope…and wish…you are different. Walekumasalam..."

Tamim, 18 years, Canada
Act today. It's on those who dare to move, that can make the world progress. Be those who dare… express yourself at www.keo.org

By Niloy

Winter chillout

Only six months on from its highly successful inception, the second Alumni Night for ex-Scholasticans took place on the 6th of January 2005. This event, as with the previous one, was organized by the Scholastica Alumni Association (SAA), which is headed by Shatael-Elias.

However, contrary to the first Alumni Night, where most of the work was done by messrs. Shatael,Samir and Ashiq, this time the well organized board of the SAA meant that all the work was divided equally and this understandably made for an altogether better arrangement.

The venue for the second Alumni Night was Club Amazon, located at Gulshan 2. Tickets were available from January 2 onwards and sold at Etcetera, Gulshan. As with the first one, this Alumni was also reasonably priced.

The program got underway at around 8 pm at night. The arrangements at the Club Amazon were fantastic, the décor brilliant. The program was held in the front lawn where seating arrangements had been made. There was a hall upstairs that was also used and it doubled as a dance floor and bar where beverages were served. There was a nice touch as well, with Alumni souvenirs on sale at the front lawn. Souvenirs included key rings, bags, T-shirts and the like. Prices though, were a little on the high side.

True to Bangladeshi tradition, most of the students were "fashionably late." It was not until 9 pm that most of the people started arriving. The turnout, unfortunately, was much lower this time than the previous Alumni Night, which saw a huge number of people.

The theme of this Alumni Night was "Winter Chillout" and that was evident in the way the students carried themselves. While the first Alumni Night was an intense and fervent affair with a lot of programs crammed into one night, this time the focus was on relaxing in the chairs on the lawn chatting to old friends and renewing acquaintances of old.

As is usual for an event like this, there were a plethora of colors on show as far as clothing was concerned. The dress code this time was regulation club wear and most were found dressed in jeans and the usual club wear.

The high point of the night was undoubtedly the buffet dinner, which was excellent. There was a medley of dishes to opt from and it ranged from spaghetti to soup, both of which were delicious. There were spring rolls, meatballs, vegetables and a quite sumptuous steak. Most students took second helpings and some over-enthusiastic ones returned for a third run at the long buffet line. It would be fair to say that the food alone compensated for what was, all things concerned, an otherwise slightly drab affair.

Another disconcerting thing was the lack of teachers on show. Hardly anyone bothered to turn up and the most illustrious guest turned out to be Ms. Noor Jahan Begum, who is currently one of the Directors, but whom most of us still fondly remember as the Principal of the old Junior Section in Dhanmondi.

After dinner, which took as long as an hour to finish for some, most took their turn at the dance floor showcasing their sleek moves amidst all the fog and lighting. Others though, retreated to the comfy chairs, drink in hand and continued the flowing conversation. Myself, being one of the latter, chit chatted for an hour or so with old friends.

At the stroke of midnight, yours truly decided to take his leave (no Cinderella commitments!) and was accompanied by a sizeable number who thought it was also time to head for home.

All in all, The Second Alumni night, though not as successful as the first one was, but still a satisfactory event. It lacked the energy and verve of its predecessor but the SAA should still be congratulated for a commendable organizational effort.
Here is to the next Alumni Night!

By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

Tsunami terror

Hundreds alive but thousands dead,
Coast of the sea churning red.
I can still remember what they said:
"Everything is washed away."
India's fertile lands,
Thailand's hot sands,
And Lank an beaches grand,
Everything is washed away
The father who he lost
Swept away his mother too,
Waters so fast, a family now the past,
"Everything is washed away."
Nature can have its way
And we may not have any say,
But we stand as one for every noble cause.
And our values can never be washed away.

By Mehreen Nazir


Every single night and day
In the cold and dark
Month of winter
Thumping rain on the ground outside
Me sitting in my house inside
On my bed
Under blankets
So no chill can catch my spine
Frosty snow starts falling outside
Sprinkling on the top of my head
Me warm in woolen clothes outside
So I won't catch a cold in sight
In the season of winter
Whoosh, swoosh, swish, swash
The chilly wind blowing outside
In the days of winter
That's how
The frosty season, winter
Goes by
Bye, bye!

By Umama Fariha Ahmed


Peace is the time, which is free from war,
You can feel peace in the morning hour,
When birds sing and fly,
Flowers gloom and gay,
When children make fun and joy,
And the elders make themselves happy and enjoy,
Peace quietly goes away from that place,
Where people fight with each other and race,
The Wars are really bad,
They make people sad,
They cause so much disaster,
And make people die faster.
God has made this world pretty,
But the people are making it dirty,
So this is my appeal,
Let's not fight and race,
And help each other to make it better place.

By Mehreen Nazir


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