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Blog Archive for the ‘Digital Dark Age’ Category

The Battle of Anghiari

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on October 23rd, 02007

Peter Paul Rubens’s copy of a copy of Da Vinci’s The Battle of Anghiari
I just received this update on the lost Davinci painting The Battle of Anghiari from Davide Bocelli, a Long Now member and long time friend of the Foundation in Italy… This is a good reminder how difficult it can. . .   Read More

100,000-Year Memory Candidate

by Kevin Kelly on September 24th, 02007

DVDs don’t. Tape doesn’t. Paper won’t. But rock does. In fact carved rock is about the only medium we have that might last 100,000 years. Most of our current electronic media will hardly last several decades. You need to continuously migrate info from one platform to the next as the current. . .   Read More

Steamboat Willie opens a gap in the New York Times

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on September 17th, 02007

In today’s New York Times is an article explaining how they are going to open their archives and web site up – sort of. It is indeed great they are taking away the requirement of logging in to see articles, and they are allowing free access to the “TimeSelect” service (previously $8/month).

The most. . .   Read More

Diamond Synchrotron to read the past

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on September 13th, 02007

The BBC is reporting on a new super bright x-ray source called a “Diamond Synchotron” (yes really) that could be used to view previously unreadable ancient texts. The synchotron could even be used to finish reading the parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls that have yet to even be unrolled due to their fragility. . .   Read More

Billion-Year Mashup

by Kevin Kelly on September 5th, 02007

In today’s New York Times, author Timothy Ferris writes an ode to the multi-media disc of human activity that was sent into the cosmos on the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Despite the harsh — though stable — conditions in space, Ferris, who produced the gold plated disc, believes this record will last one billion years. If. . .   Read More

ISO standards go toward open source

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on September 4th, 02007

Some good news for data that wants to last beyond the next version of Microsoft Office…  The recent International Standards Organization (ISO) vote on whether to adopt Microsoft’s “Open XML” file format as a standard has narrowly failed for now.  In part they failed due to questions about the long term viability of a. . .   Read More

More data to be lost on Mars

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on August 3rd, 02007

A silica glass DVD will be traveling on the soon to be launched Phoenix Mission to Mars. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will add to the lineage of data lost on Mars:

What would a Martian traveler find on the disk? Assuming that he or she could figure out how to decode the. . .   Read More

Can archives support themselves?

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on August 2nd, 02007

We have always been told that “there is no financial model for archives.” This has begun to change a little in the entertainment industry with the ‘value added DVD’ that has a lot of historical outtakes etc. However much of our valuable past data still costs more money to store than can often be justified. . .   Read More

200 Year Software

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on July 13th, 02007

I was once again reminded of Dan Bricklin’s excellent piece on long term software and thought it was worth a mention here.  His basic point is that a governments software, should be as lasting and shared as its other civil infrastructure.  The article does a great job of showing the perils of entrusting all. . .   Read More

Seed Vault of Svalbard

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on May 11th, 02007


A little while ago the design for the Svalbard International Seed Vault was released (BBC article).  They are building a long term vault for seed stock preservation.  Interestingly they seem to have chosen the site mainly under the assumption that the planet will only get warmer in the next 200 years.  My understanding of the. . .   Read More