archive

All traces of Jonah Lehrer’s e-book, *Imagine*, recently vanished from the shelves of online bookstores, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The gesture of expunging tarnished content has incited a debate; is it possible to burn an e-book?  Maria Konnikova of the Atlantic reflects on questions of censorship in online retail and the nature of books:

An e-book is not a physical book. That point might seem trite until you stop for a moment to think how much simpler it is, in a certain sense, to destroy electronic than physical traces.

Readers on the Daily Beast respond:

 

"Almost 30 per cent of recorded history, shared over social media such as Twitter, has disappeared, according to a new study of the Egyptian uprising and other significant events… 11 per cent of the social media content had disappeared within a year and 27 per cent within 2 years. Beyond that, the world loses 0.02 per cent of its culturally significant social media material every day” technology review via @auremoser

 

Hitachi just unveiled a new technology to store binary information as a pattern of dots inside a thin sheet of quartz glass. With a microscope and a computer, they say the data would be retrievable after millions of years. Could this be the silver bullet for long term data storage?

 

Over 30 billion watts worldwide. New York times visits the Cloud (video), investigating power consumption and the infrastructure of massive server farms.

For long term archiving, salt mines store magnetic spools of information. 

 

By Jonathan Good

Digital cameras are now ubiquitous - it is estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world today have a digital camera. If the average person snaps 150 photos this year that would be a staggering 375 billion photos. That might sound implausible but this year people will upload over 70 billion photos to Facebook, suggesting around 20% of all photos this year will end up there. Already Facebook’s photo collection has a staggering 140 billion photos, that’s over 10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress.

 

Someday millions of years from now, if not sooner, someone visiting Earth might wonder: who left these machines orbiting a cold dead planet? 

And if they were to locate the EchoStar XVI communication satellite among the cloud of debris, they would find a message left by 21st century artist Trevor Paglen. THE LAST PICTURES is an archive of 100 images depicting this moment in history, launched into geosynchronous orbit from Kazakhstan on a payload destined to become space junk. It is a troubling monument, an epitaph, a question mark, speeding across the skies to the end of time.

This is not the first time-capsule humans have launched into space, nor will it be the last.  Though in contrast to its precursors, this one anticipates an eerily silent future for humanity, when no one is around to tell our story. 

 

2400 years ago, an illiterate philosopher condemned writing. It will not make the people wiser, he argued, rather—

“It will implant forgetfulness in their souls: they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remember no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.” — The Phaedrus

Socrates had a point. Before the advent of tablets and scrolls, humans exercised a greater capacity to internalize huge volumes of information (for example, imagine reciting ~1,800 pages of scripture from memory, like these priests in Kerala, India)

As writing overtook oral tradition, and type accelerated distribution, people soon forgot what the world was like before books and newspapers. 

 

Internet Archive announces plans to publish all TV news since 2009 on its servers: 350,00 broadcasts from 20 channels. 

“You have to see this service to believe it – and even then, you may not. The Internet Archive has harnessed today’s extraordinary advances in computing power and storage capacity to capture virtually every national U.S. television news program and allow users to find and view short streamed clips on any subject. This easily searchable and sortable database will be a fantastic resource for journalists, researchers, librarians and news junkies alike.”
– Andrew Heyward, former president, CBS News

 

A former Christian Science Church in San Francisco houses the Internet Archive. The sturdy classical architecture—appropriate for an edifice that is at once a temple of knowledge, a library, and data vault— contains a greater volume of information than the Library of Congress, all of it kept on a modest array of drives.

Robert Miller, Director of Books, stands next to a petabyte of data (1 million gigabytes), storing a fraction of Archive.org, Wayback Machine, Prelinger Film Archive and Open Library, with mirrors of the collection at Bibliotheca Alexandria, Egypt and nearby in Mountain View, California. This collection represents the foundation of Brewster Kahle’s vision to build the Library of Alexandria version 2.0, providing everyone everywhere access to all the world’s knowledge, including books, movies, music and websites.

 

Facebook’s proposed storage center in Lulea Sweden 60 miles south of the Arctic circle will keep data cool, using the environment as a natural heat sink.

18 degrees north, tucked away on the remote Island of Spitsbergen Norway, at a site selected for its stability, the Svalbaard Seed Bank a.k.a “Doomsday Vault” stores genetic backups of food crops with room for 4.5 million varieties. 

Venture into the icy tomb of the Cold Coast Archive, a project by Signe Lidén, Annesofie Norn & Steve Rowell 

 
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