Be sure to read the fine print!

Posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 02008 by Laura Welcher
link Categories: Rosetta   chat 0 Comments

Rosetta Sphere by Long Now.

Yesterday at the Long Now Museum, board members, staff and guests raised a glass to celebrate the completion of the first version of the complete Rosetta Disk. Over eight years in development, the Disk is a physical, microscopic library of information on over 1,500 human languages. 14,000 text and image pages are etched into the surface of a 3” diameter nickel disk, which can be read with approximately 750x (optical) magnification.

The nickel disk has a high resistance to corrosion, and can withstand temperatures of up to 300 oC with little to no change in legibility of the text. Kept in its protective sphere to avoid scratches, it could easily last and be read 2,000 years into the future!

Joining in the celebration was Oliver Wilke, proud owner of a new Rosetta Disk (shown reflected in the Rosetta sphere on the left, above). The disk will be a centerpiece for his new foundation in support of endangered and minority languages around the world.

So… if the Rosetta Disk is a prototype and facet of the Library of Ages (companion to the 10,000 Year Clock), what goes into the fine print next?

Check out our pictures of the event on Flickr

Also this article on the Rosetta Disk launch event in the San Francisco Chronicle, August 20, 02008

  • Kim

    Well, reasonably, one could argue that the next bit of fine print should be along the lines of “here’s how to copy the Rosetta Disk information.” Various ways of making paper, inks, printing presses, engraving, photographic reproductions, etc. (i.e. encourage/facilitate making lots of copies.)

    In some ways, an idealized version of the Rosetta Disk would be in essence a printing plate/stamp — that in order to fully read it, one would have to ink and stamp the information onto something else, so that more copies would be made.

  • George

    How about a companion disk regarding all we know on math. Geometry, Navigation, Algebra, different base numbering systems.. you know common things that we take for granted today that might help jump start society again in the event of a global cataclysm.

  • Alan

    How about a record of man’s inhumanity to man, and the importance of remembering even those dark aspects of human nature in an effort NOT to repeat these animalistic chapters of our childhood?

  • Alastair

    Alan, the danger of that sort of record is that sooner or later some idiot will take it as an instruction manual.


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