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Why danger symbols can’t last forever

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How to design fear, explained with 99% Invisible. Check them out here: http://99pi.org Correction: The correct spelling of “warning” in Persian is هشدار. Watch the previous episode from this series: http://bit.ly/2DDIQAL Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO Chances are you wouldn’t be able to recognize a biohazard even if you were looking right at one. But the biohazard symbol? It’s pretty easy to spot. Most warning icons rely on previously established objects or symbols: a general caution might use an exclamation point, and a fire warning might use an illustration of a flame. But the biohazard symbol references an idea that is much harder to picture — and in the 50 years since its invention, it has become one of the most recognizable icons on the planet. But can the meaning of a symbol like this last an eternity? A special Department of Energy project is trying to figure that out. Read more: https://goo.gl/U82Ehn This video was made in partnership with 99% Invisible, a podcast about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about, hosted by Roman Mars. You can find full episodes at http://99pi.org Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com Check out our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE Follow Vox on Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H Or on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o
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Text Comments (6414)
Vox (1 year ago)
Watch the previous video from our partnership with 99% Invisible here: http://bit.ly/2DDIQAL
Kyle Wilhelmsen (13 days ago)
I love white people
kieuelizabeth (1 month ago)
How did you know I love 99% invisible?!
Ruthless (5 months ago)
Vox at 0:14 why do you eat your mic?
Cj Tahmasebi (4 hours ago)
circle with line through it
blue _ (4 hours ago)
Adam Baker (17 hours ago)
Wonder if we should simply bury the radioactive waste material unmarked in isolated, desolate and geologically stable areas devoid of underground aquifers or rainfall. These areas would not be locations people would not normally go to without a reason.
Chukwu (19 hours ago)
the voice change part suckkkkkks
HavCola (19 hours ago)
"Bury it deep, put a big rock on top of it and hope for the best" was basically the takeaway here.
(20 hours ago)
I still think a series of panels would make more sense, especially if you NUMBERED them. Also, a skull and crossbones, or even a etching of a complete skeleton, would communicate death readily.
L.E. Miller (21 hours ago)
No mention of Japan's tsunami warning markers? Even its own warnings to itself, written in a way they can still understood, were forgotten in only a few hundred years.
Adrian G. Tsui (1 day ago)
This video made me depressed about me not being here to find out what happens with humanity in 10,000 years
Dragon Eye (1 day ago)
Ah yes, the pirates, those murderous and dangerous people whose symbol is literaly a human skull must have buried their treasure here in the middle of the desert of all places. As someone who is unqualified at this and doesnt have the equipment for it, I should look for it. Excuse me but I doubt anyone would have a thought process like this. And hey if they do, natural selection I suppose
Love Phobia (1 day ago)
what is this painting called at 4:10
theproguy 27 (1 day ago)
the biohazard symbols idk why but i thik its like a zombie paranormal things in this area xD
IKEE (1 day ago)
3:45 if thats the wip wheres the nae nae...
Is that Roman Mars in the beginning of this video?
Fuduwahluz (23 hours ago)
romans mars' soft silky voice gets me through the day
Gus Iscool (1 day ago)
So good
Just make a sign that say “iF yoU Go hERe yOu’ll DiE.” . Then replaces it like every 50 years or so.
Ethan Whitaker (2 days ago)
Imagine this: you see a spike field, you walk into the middle and, Round 1: *bo1 zombie music starts*
andrew winkenwerder (2 days ago)
Sooo they were gonna start the children of atom from fallout 3?
Ciara Bennett (2 days ago)
Is it just me, or is that deep voice in the beginning annoying and overly expressive? Prolly just me 😕
StormoTheBrave (2 days ago)
Duke Nukem
Mr Random Videos (2 days ago)
Draw a giant middle finger and say f off
Kittytoast (2 days ago)
The only thing stronger than fear is curiosity
QuickSilver8Xf (3 days ago)
Skull and crossbones will always work as long as skulls don't change. Even crows will avoid an area littered with crow bones.
Emma Cloud (3 days ago)
Uh, the hindu religion has been around a hell of a lot longer than the catholic church or judaism lol. small thing but it struck me as odd
Allen Hancock (3 days ago)
Bold of you to assume we'll last long enough for any of this to matter.
Stan Lem (3 days ago)
Just play Justin Bieber non stop.
1337fraggzb00N (3 days ago)
04:55 morons could think that they will rest after being happy finding a box that contains shirts with a funny symbol. Also the trees grow faster.
badreality2 (3 days ago)
Stupid scholars. Everyone knows that "X marks the spot" for treasure. The Jolly Roger symbol means that you are about to be boarded for your goods and treasure. Where ever there is said mark, I know there be pirates. Arrgh.
Golden Boy (4 days ago)
Nothing lasts forever
Domo low_lit (4 days ago)
Just saying if i saw a glowing cat id follow it
#Browniedeluxe (4 days ago)
how about *WARNING!*
The Noobest Girl (4 days ago)
2:19 I mean... Abstergo IS kind of dangerous in their own way...
louis brody (4 days ago)
Very interesting
ID:107 (5 days ago)
Scientists: This unambiguous symbol will tell people there is some kind of hazard People: This will look good on a T-shirt
leonghk12 (5 days ago)
How bout writing it down in a few different languages? Compared to engineering spikes around it, i'd say a few lines of words is a safer bet. It is highly unlikely that the meaning of our language would be lost 10,000 years down the road.
Hulk Gamer (5 days ago)
2019 thanks to Trump the radiation symbol is now a "windmill noise cancer" warning symbol lol
Aperture Laboratories (20 hours ago)
Hahahaha, Trump is truly something else. Makes me want to ball up and cry.
Tama Matu (5 days ago)
I think the skull symbol is pretty obvious. If I was about to enter a really sketchy area and I see skull symbol the first thing on my mind wouldn't be that maybe somewhere in that area there is a pirate party going on. Humans have been using skulls to warn off other humans for hundreds of years
ForOne814 (14 hours ago)
+Jay15951 humans have been ignoring literally every single ancient warning there is, really. They should either hide the place and it will be considered cursed because of the people dying around it or just keep it guarded.
Jay15951 (3 days ago)
And humans have been brazenly Ignoeing the skull warnings for thousands of years.
Im already Tracer (5 days ago)
You are so annoying
CALVIN LUO (5 days ago)
*looks at nuclear storage plant "The sign shows a jolly roger, so that means that their must be buried treasure!"
115 Short Films (6 days ago)
Scientists - Lets research into how the human brain works and the fastest way to warn people. Philosopher - *Takes a hit of the blunt*.... pikachu
Kalifo (6 days ago)
hehe wipp
Stasi Ganchev (6 days ago)
And now I want a glowing kitty... Damn U INTERNET
The only place we won't go is the place we can't go.
YuranDeveloper (6 days ago)
Create a new religion to alert people of the dangers of Nuclear hazards? 💀💀💀😂
Dat Boi (6 days ago)
Sure kno this will last Put device on chair and look down at, otherwise it is not memorable 👌 it means that I can slap ur neck now XD
jelly puma (6 days ago)
Ziril (7 days ago)
I know this is like, a year old, but like we could just write many languages on a sign I mean we figured out other ancient languages as other people stated I mean there really is no good solution to this I mean glowing cats.. I guess if they went and saw a glowing cat and then diex, that legend may spawn naturally. But, there is no guarantee cats will survive as a species Or us And no guarantee a cat will be around Edit: yknow, just like, walking into a place and dying would serve as a warning to others
Ziril (7 days ago)
How about they put a head on a stake
ZiKeeR (7 days ago)
league of legends logo seems pretty toxic for me
N M (7 days ago)
actually I always forget what this symbol stands for..... xD
Jake AJ Bonin (7 days ago)
I love how one of the proposed solutions is to essentially create a real-life version of The Church of the Children of Atom.
vLONE DUCKLING (7 days ago)
Cant they just put DANGER! in multiple languages?
The Viewer (5 days ago)
What if the person who finds it can't speak that language? Doesn't matter how many languages you put on it if they can't understand.
Murtza Al (7 days ago)
ر ا د ش ه Dosen't mean anything in arabic
will loadedchamber (7 days ago)
I guess people are only going to be more dumb in the future
KudosK (7 days ago)
Why not a sign? With words?
The Viewer (5 days ago)
What if they can't speak that language.
Bahargul Palmeiro (7 days ago)
Why is the other narrator eating the mic? My ears hurt
Kris Chillinsky (7 days ago)
Yay population control!!! Ice age postponed!! Woo hoo!!
Cong Su (7 days ago)
The most effective way would be to have the future people learn through experience. Set up a large number of small sites with exploding toxic booby traps and one common symbol. Each time someone digs one up, it'll explode and kill whoever digging it. Very soon people would learn to associate the symbol with danger.
Harambe Is Innocent (7 days ago)
You’ll know after you play fallout
spiderobert (7 days ago)
you would have to be an idiot to see a skull and cross bones outside of the context of a costume party and think "hmm. this could be a safe place to go"
P3-ACE (7 days ago)
Kyle Shepherd (8 days ago)
God damn I love that silky smooth 99% Invisible Voice
Dylan Lopez (8 days ago)
I live in New Mexico
Unknown Unknown (8 days ago)
Was just about to comment that this is a blatant 99pi rip-off but then I found out it’s a collab!
Noah's Comics (8 days ago)
Now watch me 3:43
rebecca xo (8 days ago)
Why does his voice keep changing like wtff 😐
MaQuGo119 (8 days ago)
Philosophy has never done anything of worth.
fluff_thorrent (8 days ago)
Check out the documentary "Into Eternity" if you're interested in more about the practical and philosophical ramifications of nuclear waste storage sites.
Richie Schneider (8 days ago)
I had to pause the video in the beginning, with the symbols all sketched out, and try to draw the biohazard and nuclear symbols in Autocad. It was really easy.
Ricozaur YT (8 days ago)
The red cross, the Texaco star, the Shell Oil symbol, Mr. Peanut and a swastika..
MeSaDrums (8 days ago)
The Jolly Roger is still used as a poison symbol though..
Holden McLain (8 days ago)
Everyone’s a gangster until the cats start glowing
Lashinoaz (8 days ago)
just don"t try to simplify it. draw an explicit picture of the consequences : a man standing ouside the building and a sqeletton layed down in the building. or a comic. why would you do a symbol ? it makes everything cryptic
Talen Pelo (8 days ago)
Thank you Vox that is actually a very interesting dilemma. There may not be a solution yet, but I love obscure issues like this. Thank you again.
Kaaa aaeni (8 days ago)
You know what would be a good danger sign? F If someone’s dies you press F to pay respects If the meaning dies you press F to pay respects gaining the meaning again
Bozocow (8 days ago)
Arabic script at 0:35 is obviously disconnected...
macforme (8 days ago)
People will steal the cat- sculptures for their homes as a novelty. How about pictures on fences of ferocious animals or pictures of people in distress so people won't scale the fence?
Andrew Singleton (8 days ago)
'This is not a place of honored dead.'
Conner Broeker (8 days ago)
Pretty sure X marks the spot not a skull
CaveSpiderr (9 days ago)
first put symbol second but danger yay ur done wait why didn't they just start with "just make new symbols"
MrSucc (9 days ago)
Why does his voice change throughout the video?
Juan Silva (9 days ago)
Atomic priesthood? Sounds like the Adeptus Mechanicus to me.
adamdecoder1 (9 days ago)
Pretty sure the Skull and Crossbones lost its power because seafaring, coastal raiding pirates toting black flags, peg legs and gunpowder disappeared... If the physical threat the symbol represents disappears, then of course the symbol itself is going to diminish in meaning...
isxxclee (9 days ago)
0:14 did a robot take over the voice over wtf
Colt Ma (9 days ago)
Just imagining some dude sees a bottle with the poison symbol and thinks, Oh boy, liquid treasure.
Jay15951 (3 days ago)
Thane Zollman (9 days ago)
All you need to do to keep people away is use the tseries logo
Ian Lack (9 days ago)
Those spikes are freaking terrifying... I’d go into it.
John Morgan (9 days ago)
Bioluminescent dogs would make more sense than cats as dogs are more practical
The Viewer (3 days ago)
+John Morgan No, I'm talking about horizontal gene transfer, where the genes of one species end up in another completely naturally, kinda like what happens with GMOs.
John Morgan (3 days ago)
+The Viewer what you are referring to is called natural selection
The Viewer (4 days ago)
+John Morgan GMOs happen all the time in nature and most, if not all, of them are pretty stable. I mean, the Monarch Butterfly isn't exactly what I'd call an unstable creature.
John Morgan (4 days ago)
+The Viewer that can happen naturally though selection, GMO anything is not stable or sustainable
The Viewer (4 days ago)
+John Morgan We also tend to breed certain traits into/out of dogs. Do you want to risk the chance that they accidentally breed out the glowing gene?
We need a sign that says "Danger, Thot Alert" on ROBLOX in order to keep 12 year olds safe 😔
Kit Kat (10 days ago)
Can I have a glowing cat
Herr Friesel (10 days ago)
pile up Corpses on it.
Nav Bravic (10 days ago)
How do you put fields of giant jagged spikes on the same level as slightly crooked blocks and long prisms???
fumomo fumosarum (11 days ago)
the skull - literal symbol of death since the beginning of time... because you know. that's what is left from us when we're dead and done rotting. now you suggest modern / future people will be TO DUMB to understand what a SKULL stand for? pirates? really bro? pirate treasure?
Lori Wolfcat (11 days ago)
☣︎ is a hardcore biohazard sign?? I thought it was just specifically poison. I mean, it’s similar. You can get poisoned by microorganisms, but poison is like if you ingest something in any way, you’re poisoned. Like a poisoned apple. They didn’t do justice. ☢︎ is definitely biohazard. They should’ve just stuck with that. And if you see a ☠️, it always means death. Now, if there’s swords instead of bones, That’s the treasure!! Haven’t you ever seen Pirates of the Caribbean?? It’s very technical, but that’s all you need to do. A room full of designers and No one caught this?? And I refuse to actually believe no one said poison when they seen ☣︎. It looks like a web, so you think of venom, which would poison you.
Funkky Monkey (11 days ago)
There is a reason Latin is used in science heavily, it is a dead language, there is a reason the metric system is used so heavily... the need for uniformity is what will force these things to last... like the ancient cave paintings, if the use of a symbol is important, then the symbol will remain
Xonikz (12 days ago)
I'd be curious to see someone interview random kids on the street and see if they know what either of those symbols means.
The Roach (12 days ago)
lmao why did the voices keep changing
Ankolsis (12 days ago)
this symbol 0:17 makes me think of death this symbol 0:00 makes me think of nukes
Neapolitan_AD (12 days ago)
I feel so smart after watching these types of videos

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