[time-nuts] Archiving Data

Perry Sandeen sandeenpa at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 7 20:59:13 UTC 2011


I apologize in advance for my long posting

Several weeks ago I posted what were my attempts to save data and my school-of hard-knocks learning curve.  Unfortunately several posters just had to nit-pick the process I had used and started a long series of posts and counter-posts about the process while totally missing the message.  So I’m going to walk through this again hopefully for the edification of the majority.

Just several days ago a 10 year old Canadian girl discovered a super-nova while studying photographic images.  Observations by the world’s two most powerful earth based telescopes confirmed here discovery. 

Now consider the case of the Antikythera mechanism.  It was close to 2,000 years ahead of what was eventually developed in Europe.  Most likely we never knew about it was that the library in Alexandria Egypt was joyfully burned three times by religious idiots [see Wikipedia].

This mechanism was so complicated and accurate that as least passing knowledge, if not some or all of its drawings, would have been there.  In context to the science of that time, it ranked up with what the Hubble telescope accomplished for science today.

Which brings us here to today.

Governments and private businesses are storing millions of tons of written documents in the evacuated chambers of salt mines of the world [see Wikipedia].  This does beg the question of where the inventory lists are stored.  The reason for this is that no other archival grade of mass storage really exists.  The last method that I’m aware of is black & white polyester microfilm which is rated at 500 years.  With the almost total transition to digital cameras, there is no financial incentive to produce the necessary film stock to continue that process.

NASA has lost large amounts of acquired data as no equipment now exists to read the information.

Current CD/ DVD media is no solution.  A 2004 report published in the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology entitled "Stability Comparison of Recordable Optical Discs-A Study of Error Rates in Harsh Conditions."  You can read it yourself at http://nvl-p.nist.gov/pub/nistpubs/jres/109/5/j95sla.pdf.

Until someone invents a stabilized glass DVD and perhaps a holographic laser beam to create the needed pits W/O chemicals (embedded gold maybe?) archival data storage W/O paper is a crap-shoot. 

So where am I going with all this?  Glad you asked.

No one knows if their or others data will lead to a new discovery or process.  Da Vinci certainly didn’t.  It can however; lead to learning that can then can be taken to the next level of knowledge and invention.

Words cannot express my gratefulness to those who have taken the considerable effort and expense to post science information and support technical lists such as this on the net as well as the posters who have kindly shared their knowledge with us.

I just hope it doesn’t get lost.

End of Rant.  I now get off my soapbox and return you to your normal programming. 




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