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Guardians of Mexican heritage say no to laser beam time capsule

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Mexican authorities have put the kibosh on Yahoo!'s plans to beam millions of text, video and picture messages into outer space.

The main stumbling block for Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) was that internet giant Yahoo! wanted to set up its space-age digital laser apparatus on the ancient Pyramid of the Sun complex at Teotihuacan.

According to Reuters, the INAH told Yahoo! on Monday that its plans to broadcast the data as part of its project to document life on Earth in 2006 were not a goer. "We did have the permit, but Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History told us Monday night that it could not be done," Manuel Mazzanti, head of marketing at Yahoo! Mexico, told reporters on Wednesday.

An INAH spokesman said the Yahoo! event posed technical and operational problems that might damage Teotihuacan. "We are the guardians of the heritage of Mexico," the spokesman said, with an air of finality.

Yahoo!'s Mazzanti told reporters the company was looking for another launch site for the event but, unsurprisingly, had ruled out Mexico as a location.

As ENN reported on Tuesday, Yahoo executives have decided to build the world's largest digital time capsule to record life in 2006. Yahoo! is encouraging people from around the world to contribute personal photos, stories, thoughts, ideas, poems, home movies and art to its electronic anthropology project, which will be sealed at its headquarters in California and re-opened in 2020.

"One in two internet users around the world use Yahoo!, and we are proud to document this moment in history with them in celebration of the global online community," Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang said on Tuesday.

"Wherever people use Yahoo - from Mexico, Germany or China to the US - we want them to represent their culture and show us what's important to them by participating in this historic internet time capsule event. It will be fascinating to see what people submit as their part of this 2006 snapshot, which will be shared with generations to come."

Perhaps unbeknown to Yang, Mexican conservationists had already vetoed the plan to promote the time capsule idea by projecting sample internet content onto the side of the 216ft-high pyramid, and thence into space. Sending this data into the ether along a digital laser beam was supposed to "bring together the past and the present with the Universe's potential future by sharing today's culture on Earth with other life that may exist light years away," according to Yahoo.

At time of publication, no extra-terrestrial lifeform could be contacted to comment on their desire to watch internet videos of humans falling off skateboards or read emails about that strange smell in the office.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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