Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Data Storage Earth Media Science

Rosetta Disk Designed For 2,000 Years Archive 659

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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Rosetta Disk Designed For 2,000 Years Archive

Comments Filter:
  • Archive readability (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @07:53AM (#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)? [] or []

  • Re:Pronounce what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:07AM (#24735197) Journal

    Assume an utterly alien audience

    Why? The foundation doesn't, they assume an audience of humans in the future. Their goal is to preserve knowledge for our descendants, not for some hypothetical alien archaeologist.

  • by Notquitecajun ( 1073646 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:21AM (#24735295)
    No no NO. The freaks at Westboro are NOT a "large group," and represent ONLY themselves. If you're going to complain about the excesses of religion, find a different example.
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:28AM (#24735337) Journal

    Something else that's been massively translated: []

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

  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Monday August 25, 2008 @08:43AM (#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 kungfugleek ( 1314949 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:05AM (#24735713)
    Are you sure it's the prominence of religion, and not the prominence of pig-headedness masquerading as religion?
  • Re:Pfff (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:12AM (#24735777)

    In the case of Mary, I understand the word is "venerate" not "worship".

    Whether you believe it or not, it's a text that is significant to a non-trivial chunk of the world today[1] and, more importantly, has been translated into a *huge* number of languages.

    Seems fairly appropriate for this purpose to me, even as an atheist.

    [1] Wikipedia claims "a quarter to a third of the world's population" are Christians, but I don't promise not to have edited that prior to quoting ;-)

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:30AM (#24735925) Homepage

    Anybody who owns a TV set, house, car, etc. will be turned away from the pearly gates (;&version=31 []; )

    Anybody who's eaten a hot dog? Sorry. (;&version=31 []; ).

    Anybody who doesn't hate their family? Nope. ( [] )

    I could go on... but that's pretty much the whole of the USA already.

  • by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:33AM (#24735963) Journal
    If you had read TFA, you would have learned that the first prototype disc was placed on the Rosetta space probe [], which will land on comet Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014. It is likely that the disc will survive a very long time there.
  • Re:Pfff (Score:5, Informative)

    by strabes ( 1075839 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @09:56AM (#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:Pronounce what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @10:57AM (#24737107) Journal []

    I see where you're going, but the material the tuning fork is made of (iron) and the length of the tines isn't enough to determine its frequency.

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

    by JeanPaulBob ( 585149 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @11:02AM (#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 []. 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.
  • by bcwright ( 871193 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @11:10AM (#24737255)

    Do you really know the meaning of the words "day" in the original language? No, it's only the Catholic Church and some other prominent so-called "christian" organizations that promote that idea.

    I don't believe that the Catholic Church promotes the idea any more that the world was created in 7 literal days - for quite a long time now they've accepted that the story is symbolic and mythological, not literal.

    There are a few Christian groups who do believe in 7 literal days of creation - but most of them tend to be fundamentalist Protestants rather than Catholics or "mainline" Protestants.

    Naturally there are individual members of each of these groups whose beliefs do not match the "official" beliefs of their respective denominations - but that shouldn't be used as evidence of what the denomination as a whole believes.

  • by clonan ( 64380 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @12:36PM (#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 dubl-u ( 51156 ) * <2523987012@potaG ... minus herbivore> on Monday August 25, 2008 @03:42PM (#24741177)

    You go on to admit that atheism is in fact in disagreement with you

    No. No, I don't.

    What I'm "admitting" is that your (erroneous) expectations don't match my actual views. Dreaming your dreams of a Santa Claus in the sky, the impermanence of the physical world scares you.

    It does not scare me. That nothing lasts takes none of the fun out of making something good. If anything, it makes it more poignant, more beautiful. If you don't believe me, go experience some of the art of people like Andy Goldsworthy, who make some works intentionally impermanent.

    Again we will see less moral incentive determining their actions. The cracks will be wider.

    This is a fine argument from theory, with no actual data. You, some random guy, on the Internet, "guarantee" your argument. So?

    History shows that you are wrong. Buddhism started out as a godless venture, accepting the eternal flux we live in, and the Zen Buddhists carry that atheism through today. Have they turned evil? Go meet some and let me know what you think, but I'd say they're doing fine.

    Science also suggests you are wrong. At least some and probably much of the human moral sense is provably an innate biological function. For readable introductions, see "Good Natured" by Franz de Waal or "Demonic Males" by Richard Wrangham. And in the decade since those books came out, there's been a heap of good experimental and fMRI observational work, reinforcing the biological basis of community-oriented behavior. And let's not forget "The Forest People," showing that non-Christan societies can develop strong community-oriented behavior.

    Your theory that the only source of morality is Christian memes is provably false. And the data about crime and atheism proves the opposite of your notion as well. Atheists are circa 10% of America's population, are circa 0.2% of the prison population. Japan, the least Christian country in the G8, has the lowest violent crime rate. America, the most Christian country, has the highest.

    You're really just repeating and embroidering the kind of ignorant statements that Christians make about atheists all the time.

  • Re:Pfff (Score:2, Informative)

    by scotbotmosh ( 1277032 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @05:22PM (#24742767)

    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.

    Actually if you look into it there is quite a bit of evidence outside of the Bible that confirms the existence of Jesus of the Bible Here's a quick link if you would like to take some time and check it out: []

  • by Cookie3 ( 82257 ) on Monday August 25, 2008 @05:55PM (#24743203) Homepage

    Christianity + Islam = ~3-4 billion people, which is 50-66% of the world, depending on how (and who) you're counting. Additionally, due to missionary work, it's likely that 3/4ths of the world has at least *heard* the Abrahamic stories, even if they discard them as being incongruous with their own beliefs.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.