Disasters and Recovery

From: Ward Donald Griffiths III <gram_at_cnct.com>
Date: Mon Jan 18 15:13:21 1999

Tony Duell wrote:
> > How about we start sending all our precious data into space via radio
> > waves towards some big celestial body (like one of Jupiter's moons) so
> > that in X years it will bounce back and we can then retrieve it
> Jupiter's moons are nowhere near far enough away for this. Radio waves
> travel at the speed of light. I'm not sure how far away jupiter is, but
> it's a lot less than 1 light year.
> > (hopefully intact thanks to some keen error correction protocol). Of
> A good paper-based storage system (either punched tape or stable printout

Schematics. Source code. Drawings. Any other available technical
info. _Printed_ on acid-free paper (hemp is best). From proper
documentation anything can be built from scratch. We have examples
around of printed media that lasted 20 times as long as a mere
century time capsule, and they didn't have much preservative
technology besides pottery jars in a cave in a dry climate. With the
addition of dessicants and oxygen absorbers to properly sealed
containers of inert gases, printed media should last for a few ice-age
cycles. But I really wouldn't expect a modern computer do manage more
than a few decades at best unless somebody developed a functional
"stasis field", and we need a major breakthrough in theoretical
physics -- and the followup engineering -- for that to happen. In the
meantime, human-readable media is probably the best bet, although a
bit bulky. (For reasons other than "planned obsolescence", modern
artifacts are not as durable as those of primitive people, even when
they use the same materials, as we use them in more delicate forms --
compare a Roman gold coin to the gold components in a computer).
Ward Griffiths <mailto:gram_at_cnct.com> <http://www.cnct.com/home/gram/>
WARNING:  The Attorney General has determined that Alcohol, Tobacco,
and Firearms can be hazardous to your health -- and get away with it.
Received on Mon Jan 18 1999 - 15:13:21 GMT

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