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Data Storage Earth Media Science

Rosetta Disk Designed For 2,000 Years Archive 659

Posted by timothy
from the that'll-do-for-now dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Kevin Kelly has an interesting post about an archive designed with an estimated lifespan of 2,000 -10,000 years to serve future generations as a modern Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta disk contains analog 'human-readable' scans of scripts, text, and diagrams using nickel deposited on an etched silicon disk and includes 15,000 microetched pages of language documentation in 1,500 different languages, including versions of Genesis 1-3, a universal list of the words common for each language, and pronunciation guides. Produced by the Long Now Foundation, the plan is to replicate the disk promiscuously and distribute them around the world in nondescript locations so at least one will survive their 2,000-year lifespan. 'This is one of the most fascinating objects on earth,' says Oliver Wilke. 'If we found one of these things 2,000 years ago, with all the languages of the time, it would be among our most priceless artifacts. I feel a high responsibility for preserving it for future generations.'"
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Rosetta Disk Designed For 2,000 Years Archive

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  • by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:39AM (#24734977)
    Among the 13,500 scanned pages are 1,500 different language versions of Genesis 1-3

    I'm sure they picked bible passages because the translations were mostly done for them already but I'm a little embarassed that future generations are going to think how amazingly superstitious we were. I mean, Genesis 2 alone...

    Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

    They're going to think we were cuckoo!
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:41AM (#24734993) Homepage

      It's contemporary, and already translated into almost every language on Earth.

      OTOH The Bible is about the only book that wouldn't have earned them a DMCA slapdown affidavit.

      • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:46AM (#24736129) Journal

        OTOH The Bible is about the only book that wouldn't have earned them a DMCA slapdown affidavit.

        I know you said that partly in jest, but I actually got a little depressed when I gave it some thought. Think of what we could have included: the music that influenced generations, films that invoke anger, sadness, joy, books that literally changed the way that the world thought -- and not one bit of it can be reproduced, all because some assholes wanted to collect a check from an animated mouse.
         
         

        We fucked up somewhere.

        • by cliffski (65094) on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:43AM (#24737749) Homepage

          nonsense. You do realise it is up to the copyright holder what permissions they grant right?
          Not all copyright holders are cackling billionaire bastards.

          As an experiment pick a dozen living writers, email them and ask them if any of them object to granting permission for their books to be published on this project. I'd be amazed if every single one of them didn't say "hell yes".

          Don't tarnish the 99% of sane copyright holders with the stupidity of the noisy 1%.

        • by tgd (2822) on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:46AM (#24737775)

          Nice rant.

          Really, one would've thought the reason music and film wasn't included is because... well, you can't listen to sounds or watch movies on an etched nickel disk through a 1000x microscope.

          But DMCA rants are a sure path to karma here, no matter how irrelevant to the discussion they are.

      • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:31AM (#24736689) Journal
        ...and how would that show we are not superstitious? Can you imagine what sort of picture a future archaeologist would paint of our society using Harry Potter as a basis? Mind you the "historical" re-enactments would be fun to watch.
    • by JohnHegarty (453016) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:46AM (#24735021) Homepage

      With the way things are going very soon the Bible will be the only book that's out of copyright....

      • by Selanit (192811) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:02AM (#24735151)

        With the way things are going very soon the Bible will be the only book that's out of copyright....

        Some versions of the Bible are copyrighted. Any translation undertaken in the last eighty years or so.

        Oh, and in Britain the Authorized King James version is subject to Crown copyright, which is perpetual. It's never going to enter the public domain. Probably not even if the monarchy were to be abolished -- any British government which saw fit to abolish the monarchy would likely retain its privileges for the state. Not that it seems like the monarchy's going away any time soon.

    • Pfff (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:47AM (#24735029) Journal

      It has been two thousand years since some girl claimed that she got knocked up by a burning bush rather then her boyfriend and millions of people worship her as a virgin.

      One person's cuckoo is another persons prophet. When everyone has forgotten Ron Hubbard was a bad Sci-Fi writer his novels may one day serve as the basis of a religion.

      Nah, that could never happen.

      • Re:Pfff (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Joce640k (829181) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:51AM (#24735063) Homepage

        Hundreds of millions of people base their lives around those stories.

        Sort of.

        When you point out the fine print to them, most of those people don't measure up so they're going to hell anyway. Might as well have partied.

        • Re:Pfff (Score:5, Informative)

          by strabes (1075839) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:56AM (#24736251)
          A major doctrine of Christianity is that no one measures up to the holiness of God anyway, which is why Christ, God incarnate, came and took the sins of the world upon himself. Christianity isn't about being a bunch of holier-than-thou religious people who live in middle class suburbia, go to church once a week, and try not to sin a lot. If you read any one of the four Gospels, those are the types of people which Jesus condemned most frequently (the Pharisees). Christianity is about self-sacrifice, living as Christ lived, and loving as Christ loved. Unfortunately Western Christianity currently looks a lot more like the former than the latter. I'm not asking you to believe it or even find it rational, I'm just asking you to at least give an accurate portrayal of something before you critique it.
          • Re:Pfff (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:32AM (#24736707)

            If you read any one of the four Gospels

            4? Oh yeah, that's right - the religious folks have only really bothered to keep around the gospels that suited their purpose. There were dozens of gospels, all from roughly the same era and time. Funny how only certain select ones are accepted.

          • Careful, there. (Score:5, Informative)

            by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:02AM (#24737163)
            Your critique of pharisaical religion is good, and there's certainly a lot of that around among professing Christians. But two cautions for you:

            1.) Make sure you stay humble as you critique "Pharisees", or you'll be acting holier-than-thou. I think those tendencies are present in everyone. I hate that, and pray that God will be changing my heart [gnpcb.org]. But it's important not to forget that it's there.

            2.) When you say that "Christianity is about self-sacrifice, living as Christ lived, and loving as Christ loved," make sure you maintain the difference between (1) walking in the Spirit, being transformed to be more like Christ, and (2) the good news. If you walk up to someone and tell them, "Look at Jesus! Live like he lived!", then you haven't given them good news. Because, as you said, we can't measure up to that standard.

            The life of a Christian is about what you said. But the gospel is forgiveness, salvation, adoption, and the receipt of the Holy Spirit--by faith, not by working to be like Christ.
      • Re:Pfff (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:48AM (#24736985)

        It has been two thousand years since some girl claimed that she got knocked up by a burning bush rather then her boyfriend and millions of people worship her as a virgin.

        That's got to be one of the silliest critiques of Christianity that I've read. Even setting aside Protestant/Catholic/Orthodox questions of the veneration of Mary.

        People don't believe in Jesus because of Mary's claim that God made her pregnant. People believe in Jesus because of claims about his miracles & resurrection.

        If you're going to give the pseudoskeptic's treatment to the virgin birth, you're doing it all wrong. You should be doubting whether Mary ever claimed such a thing--you should be speculating that early Christians made up the story.

        But I realize that wouldn't make as effective an approach to junk rhetoric.

        Hmm... I guess you could throw in some half-informed claims about "mistranslation" of Isaiah 7:14, while you're at it.

        • Re:Pfff (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192) on Monday August 25, 2008 @11:22AM (#24738295) Journal

          People don't believe in Jesus because of Mary's claim that God made her pregnant. People believe in Jesus because of claims about his miracles & resurrection.

          Isn't a virgin birth one of those miracles? By casting doubt on that miracle, you cast doubt on Jesus's divinity.

          But yes, the most important question to settle is whether a "Jesus" actually ever existed in the first place. There's not much evidence for that assertion outside the Bible.

      • Re:Pfff (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bob Uhl (30977) <eadmund42@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:49AM (#24737827) Homepage

        It has been two thousand years since some girl claimed that she got knocked up by a burning bush rather then her boyfriend and millions of people worship her as a virgin.

        And her prospective husband, rather than divorce her as he desired, ate a bad meal, saw a vision and decided to marry her anyway and raise the kid.

        And a bunch of fishermen were persuaded by this kid, now-grown, to leave their steady jobs to wander around listening to him preach.

        And after he was executed, they decided that rather than head back to fishing that they'd continue the job, annoying the local powers-that-were to the point that they themselves were executed.

        Or...the girl was impregnated by God, her son was the Son of God, His miracles actually did convince a bunch of fishermen that He was on to something and so forth.

        Which is more difficult to believe? That guys like Saul of Tarsus decided, 'hey, I'm tired of stoning these Christians; I'm gonna become one instead!' or that they he actually received a vision? That ignorant Judean fishermen thought it better to be tortured to death than to enjoy an old age surrounded by their grandchildren, or that they actually believed what they preached first-hand knowledge of?

        Oh, and no mainstream Christians worship Mary. We venerate her, of course, since she is the Mother of God after all.

    • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:56AM (#24735105) Homepage Journal
      Well, "we" (as in mankind as a whole) clearly are amazingly superstitious.

      More importantly, though, it's a text that has a reasonable chance of surviving and being updated to remain understandable. Even if religion should start declining rapidly, it's played such a significant role in history and the text has been spread so widely that it's one of very few works I'd be willing to bet will exist in a "modern" translation 2000 years from now - a work that is currently considered a sacred text by more than half of the worlds population (both christians, muslims and jews) has a good shot at longevity.

      What other texts do we have that has a similar chance of surviving? There are a lot of texts that are revered to some extent, but few or none that so many people have copies of, and even fewer currently widespread works that the next generation or the one after that will still have many copies of.

    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:01AM (#24735145) Homepage

      To give an idea of how embarrassing this will be, think of it like this: Bible-thumpers are the old Trekkies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rogerborg (306625)
        That's a ridiculous comparison. The bible is fictional.
        • by kabocox (199019) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:39AM (#24736041)

          That's a ridiculous comparison. The bible is fictional.

          Oh if only it mainly was. The problem is that there is far too much factual info in there and well the fictional/scifi elements get drowned out. I've tried to explain to my wife that of course there are huge chucks of the bible that are very factual. Why? The Jews used it as their history/moral/everything a person needed to know book and it was fairly up to date at the time. So of course all the cities/villages mentioned are likely to have actually existed. I try to explain to her its like if some one or family had been keeping a family history since the founding of the US, well in 2000 in the future they could use that family history to locate the cities/towns that said family lived. That part could be mostly factual, but that still doesn't mean everything in the book is factual. You could have a fictional story happen in a realistic setting and that doesn't make the story factual. Though 2000 years latter, if they find the setting, they may assume parts/pieces of the story are true.

          • by SilverJets (131916) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:45AM (#24736933) Homepage

            That's a ridiculous comparison. The bible is fictional.

            Oh if only it mainly was. The problem is that there is far too much factual info in there and well the fictional/scifi elements get drowned out. I've tried to explain to my wife that of course there are huge chucks of the bible that are very factual.

            Given everything that is written in the bible, I would hardly describe the inclusion of the names of some towns and cities "huge chunks that are very factual". Everything else is just fantasy.

            • by clonan (64380) on Monday August 25, 2008 @11:36AM (#24738477)

              Actually, with the exception of specific conversations between two people, the bible has proven to be almost perfectly accurate.

              Archeology, third party histories and other evidence pretty much always proves that the larger events and geographies are accurate.

              -There are egyptian writtings that confirm the plagues.
              -Sodom and Gramorrah have been found and were both destroyed at the same time, having burnt down.
              -There is more third party documentation as to the life and crusifiction of Christ than there is for the life and death of Julius Ceaser.
              -Paul's exploits were well documented
              -the dead sea scrolls showend minimal historical drift in the text

              The list goes on and on.

              There are very few sections of the bible that are presented as fact when they may be religious allegory..the genesis story and Revelation are the big ones. Most other places the extraordinary occurances are events that DO happen (ie the plagues of Egypt) or are presented in dreams. But what I find so interesting about Genesis is that it actually does follow our current understanding of the creation of the universe, our solar system and the earth-moon system. I could easily beleive that a stone age man "receiving" an image of how the universe began would come up with a Genisis story from what he saw.

              The astonding accuracy is a result of the honor placed on the document. Most of the old testement was kept in the Ark and once every 49 years it was taken out and read in public then returned to the Ark until about 60 AD. This archiving maintained the original text without historical drift. Once the new testament was cannonized in the 4th century, it was maintained equally zealously. Monks studies for years to be allowed to hand copy the bible and do so with such expertise that it was impossible to tell the original from the copy.

              The reason conversations are necessarily excluded for the statment of accuracy is simply because there is usually no way to confirm or deny them. We only have Moses's word that a bush appeared to be on fire and talked with him. However we can reasonably assume that the text in the bible is the same text that was written 1,800 years ago.

              You really should actually read the bible. It is a remarkably good read and provides real insight into that part of history, human psycology not to mention religious theory.

    • by uhfdude (862689) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:06AM (#24735187)
      I was going to say pretty much the same thing. What bothers me is how prominent religion is in American society - leaders doing their thing in the name of God, large groups of fundamentalist christian believers picketing funerals of people they deem unworthy... I'm sure many of you can think of lots of examples. I think it's time that religions be demoted to the realm of mythology where they belong. I mean, come on, it's not gospel. (Can't take credit, stole that gospel bit from comedian Dara O'Briain)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bazman (4849)

      Something else that's been massively translated:

      http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/ [unhchr.ch]

      I can't find a list of contents for the Rosetta Disk but hopefully it has this in bigger print than Genesis...

      • by Bazman (4849) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:30AM (#24735355) Journal

        Ooh I just read down a bit further and discovered that yay, it does have it.

        • by Kent Recal (714863) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:15AM (#24735787)

          The problem, as usual, is in the presentation bias.
          I got myself a copy of this rosetta thing and well, see for yourself:

          .
          ./1111_README.1ST
          ./1111_README.1ST/the_bible_-_a_popes_view.avi
          ./bible
          ./bible/hot_jesus_action.avi
          ./bible/maria_sweaty_xxx.wmv
          ./bible/12_hot_studs_uncensored.avi
          ./bible2-the-moses-incident
          ./bible2-the-moses-incident/gawds-bb2mi-TS-PROPER.rar
          ./bible2-the-moses-incident/gawds-bb2mi-TS-PROPER.r00
          ./bible2-the-moses-incident/gawds-bb2mi-TS-PROPER.r01
          ./bible2-the-moses-incident/gawds-bb2mi-TS-PROPER.r02
          ./bible2-the-moses-incident/gawds-bb2mi-TS-PROPER.r03
          ..
          ./bible2-the-moses-incident/gawds-bb2mi-TS-PROPER.r44
          ./TEH_BIBLE_DIRECTORS_CUT--GAWDS-SCREENER-DVDR-XVID
          ./TEH_BIBLE_DIRECTORS_CUT/gawds-bdc-dvdrip_1.avi
          ./TEH_BIBLE_DIRECTORS_CUT/gawds-bdc-dvdrip_2.avi
           
          ( 1417 lines snipped )
           
          ./.attic
          ./.attic/misc
          ./.attic/misc/old
          ./.attic/misc/old/test
          ./.attic/misc/old/test/deutsch
          ./.attic/misc/old/test/deutsch/human_rihgts.doc~

          Sad.

    • by dontPanik (1296779) <ndeselms.gmail@com> on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:39AM (#24735447)
      Well a lot of what we have from ancient Greek culture is religous material, and that shit is wack!
      Even so, no one goes around saying the Greeks were idiots.
    • by Lachlan Hunt (1021263) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:40AM (#24735463) Homepage

      I agree, it's a shame they had to fill it with it with mythology, instead of something more useful like some sort of documentation of our current scientific knowledge, information about actual significant historical events, or something.

    • by danaris (525051) <danaris AT mac DOT com> on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:27AM (#24735897) Homepage

      Whether we like it—or agree with it—or not, the Bible is something that is very important to a very large number of people on Earth. Genesis, in particular (and much of the rest of the Old Testament) represents a creation myth believed to lesser or greater extent by 3.8 billion of our 6 billion-odd people (Wikipedia's estimate of the number of believers in Abrahamic religions).

      Just because we agnostic or atheist geeks think that such things are embarrassing doesn't make it any less representative of the world we live in.

      Dan Aris

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Whether the Genesis account is believed or not, it is familiar to a large number of people. Whether you believe it or not, it's an important part of western culture. Trying to ignore it would be like trying to ignore Shakespeare in English literature.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dubl-u (51156) *

        Just because we agnostic or atheist geeks think that such things are embarrassing doesn't make it any less representative of the world we live in.

        Yep. I'm a flaming atheist, and I'm fine with them having used Genesis. I'd bet it's the single most translated text in the world.

        If I'm going to build a bridge that I want to last 500 years, I'm going to take a hard look at all the bridges that have lasted that long already.

  • To mass produce them? If they really want them to last that long, why only make two of them? I'd shell out some cash for one, but nowhere near the 25,000 it cost to make the one displayed on the website.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The plan is to mass produce them, eventually. I expect that if they do find a way to manufacture these cheaply, other projects will want to manufacture their own discs, esp. with stuff like Wikipedia. It would be nice if they became popular with publishers and the like. Having a couple of these around is good, but having a more heterogeneous collection of high-density durable information repositories scattered around would be priceless.

      And as a fan of dystopian future scenarios, the very idea of future prim

  • by mbone (558574) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:43AM (#24735003)

    This would be a logical thing to put into deep space - on the Moon or on Mars, say. It is a good environment to preserve things, and any future civilization is going to look up our space probes sooner or later.

    • If they could get permission, it might also make sense to bury one of these in a waterproof enclosure at the Georgia Guidestones [wikipedia.org] - the huge Monoliths in Georgia in 8 different languages.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:06AM (#24735185) Journal
      Space is very big, and finding stuff there is pretty hard. Designing a satellite which can keep transmitting a signal (so that it will actually be found) for two thousand years is not at all easy - solar panels degrade long before this and even radiothermal generators don't last much longer than a hundred years.

      Also, part of the purpose of the Long Now Foundation is to make current scientific knowledge available to our descendants in the event of a global catastrophe. By the time they've (re)developed the technology required to retrieve something from space, there isn't a huge amount more we can teach them.

      • by bytesex (112972) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:39AM (#24735441) Homepage

        That's why you would hide it in an intuitive place. In the middle of the biggest crater on the moon, for example, inside a big, obviously artificial thing. A black monolith, say.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DarthVain (724186)

          I know this is a joke, but seriously it makes more sense.

          Of course we are assuming that in 2000 years we will still have spaceflight and not be in some sort of virus zombie filled post apocalyptic mad max sort of existence.

          Generally speaking getting any physical object to last 2000 years is a tough sell, particularly if you are trying to protect tiny (microscopic even!) details. This is largely due to the fact that we have this pesky atmosphere and weather (and geology to a certain extent).

          On the moon howev

    • by Petrushka (815171) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:26AM (#24735329)

      For something that's actually intended to be an archive, perhaps. But this is expressly designed to be merely a curiosity, not an archive. So why bother going to the tremendous effort of sending it to a different planet?

      The information that interests the archaeologists is, more often than not, the information that no one is particularly interested in preserving. Things like records of lawsuits, records of amounts of produce, textbooks used for education ... that kind of thing. Sure, mythological documents are interesting too, but they're likely to be preserved in multiple copies anyway.

      Hence, Petrushka's Made-up-on-the-spot Rule One: The documents that a society most wants to preserve are exactly those documents that archaeologists will be the least interested in. Because they know that stuff already. (Sure, there are exceptions for truly ancient civilisations where literally nothing else survives except for official documents, but ...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by necro81 (917438)
      If you had read TFA, you would have learned that the first prototype disc was placed on the Rosetta space probe [wikipedia.org], which will land on comet Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014. It is likely that the disc will survive a very long time there.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    than carving it in stone

  • by CFBMoo1 (157453)

    This thing will end up in 2000 years on someones altar as they make sacrifices to some weird god thinking it's a source of untold power. Then some nut with a hat and whip will come along and steal it for a museum only to have it end up on a coffee table somewhere.

    Or...

    2000 years from now some primitive creature will be trying to crack some kind of nut for food and end up using this as a fancy nut cracker.

  • we did what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nimbius (983462) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:49AM (#24735043) Homepage
    we invent a hard disk designed for 2000 years of storage and we stick bible stories on it?!

    come on, surely we could upload 4chan instead..
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:49AM (#24735047) Journal

    Okay, so they include a 6x glas sphere. How nice, but you need a 500x microscope to read it. The sphere has a large base and it can be opened. Why not include the tool to read the document with the document?

    Who is to say that whoever finds it in the future has access to such a powerful microscope? For most of history we haven't.

    Nice idea, but geez, think things through, this could be found by the same kind of people who made the original rossate stone. Do you really want them to wait hundreds of years to develop magnifcation good enough to read it?

  • Genesis (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:51AM (#24735059)

    That's a lot of Phil Collins - three Genesis albums!

    Surely a greater variety would have given a broader view of our world! Maybe some Elton John, and Boney M at least!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Drathos (1092)

      Actually, if it's the first three Genesis albums, there's not a lot of Collins. He didn't join them til the third album. It is, however, a lot of Gabriel, Banks, and Rutherford.

  • by upuv (1201447) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:53AM (#24735079) Journal
    I gotta say this is something special. Just imagine having a transcript of Roman Senate debates. Pictures of Inca ritual. Blue prints and plans of how they made the monuments of Easter Island. As almost the complete entire collection of current knowledge and experience will fade in all it's current forms, very little of our lives will survive for 2000 years. Only scraps of buildings and monuments will survive. Oops I take that all back. I forgot about Google cache.
  • Archive readability (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:53AM (#24735081) Journal

    Just so long as they didn't do what the BBC did in the 1980's with the UK's modern "Doomsday Book" history archive project. The archive went on a Laserdisc, and what hardware today can read that format (not the machines on ebay)?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/07/11/bbc_domesday_project_saved/ [theregister.co.uk] or
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/preservation/research/domesday.htm/community.htm [nationalarchives.gov.uk]

    • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:43AM (#24735507) Homepage Journal

      This disc is being designed to be read through analog processes.... and in fact the first few words can be read with the naked eye, and gradually get smaller to the point that each attempt to magnify the words shows there is much more on the disc.

      Each language that is being used is also given "equal" treatment, other than some languages tend to be much more verbose than others such as Latin languages vs. Germanic languages or even the most efficient being Chinese (in terms of characters per word/idea in the language)

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday August 25, 2008 @06:58AM (#24735123) Homepage

    The Romans managed to preserve their language and culture for 2000 years completely by accident. Do you really think all the stuff we're doing today will vanish in the same time span.

    In far less than 100 years the whole of today's Internet will fit on a single USB stick - smaller than a single shard of Roman pottery.

    • by bcwright (871193) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:55AM (#24735617)

      The Romans managed to preserve their language and culture for 2000 years completely by accident. Do you really think all the stuff we're doing today will vanish in the same time span.

      It wasn't completely by accident - many early Roman and Greek works were deliberately preserved in the monasteries. Compare for example what happened to ancient Carthaginian culture, which is approximately the same age and which was nearly exterminated: about all that we know about them was written by their opponents.

  • WTF ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by daveime (1253762) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:02AM (#24735157)

    replicate the disk promiscuously

    Only nerds too long in their basements would use this kind of terminology !

    The rest of us would say "make a lot of copies".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:06AM (#24735183)

    This sounds great. Now we need one with a copy of Wikipedia on it, so that all human knowledge can be preserved as well.

  • by joshv (13017) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:26AM (#24735327)

    To have any hope of surviving and being found in thousands of years, they need massive replication. Oh, I am sure they picked the best of materials, and they will last, but at $25,000 per, there just aren't going to be many of them left in 2,000 years because there weren't many of them made.

    I would favor a cheaper mass produced product. Maybe something that on average doesn't have much hope of lasting more than a few hundred years, but if you make millions of them and shill them on the home shopping network - maybe somebody will have a hope of finding one in the distance future perfectly preserved in a redneck's hermetically sealed grave.

    I'd suggest using something like a CD mastering process to stamp an analog message into a gold foil disk, that is then embedded in high quality, impact resistant glass. The glass seals against corrosion and moisture (if you are too cheap to go with the gold foil), and acts as a sacrificial surface that can take scratches bumps and dings and still be polished up by future archeologists.

  • No 2.000 years (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mseeger (40923) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:27AM (#24735331)
    Hi,

    if you treat this disk the way the original rosetta stone has been treated, nobody will be able to decipher it afterwards. The only reason we were able the rosetta stone: The chars were relatively big. High information density and long lifetime (in any conditions) are contradictions....

    Yours, Martin

  • by 2Bits (167227) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:39AM (#24735443)
    Following the archiving principle of LOCKS (Lots of Copies Keep 'em Safe) we would replicate the disk promiscuously and distribute them around the world with built in magnifiers.

    Speak for yourself, man, all the geeks in us already found a better way long time ago. We store our important stuffs for long term archival in newsgroups.

  • Space based storage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:20AM (#24735829)

    Personally, I'd probably place the things into a number of satellites and keep them in orbit around the earth with just enough to keep the orbit from decaying. Then, tie the controls for maintaining the orbit to a series of earth based beacons. In the event that every beacon on earth fails, the satellites could then be instructed to enter into decaying orbits to seed the discs onto the earth's surface contained within a protective shell to prevent burning up on re-entry. This would increase the odds of the discs being found by keeping them closer to the earth's surface and their landing points would deform the surrounding land enough to warrant investigation.

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."

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