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Re: Permanence of digital materials
- To: Multiple recipients of list BOOK_ARTS-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
- Subject: Re: Permanence of digital materials
- From: "J.S.FARLEY" <J.S.Farley@lib.hull.ac.uk>
- Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 16:27:12 +0000
- In-Reply-To: <199610311422.OAA15622@listserv.rl.ac.uk>
- Message-Id: <199610311822.KAA11415@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
On Thu, 31 Oct 1996, CLARA KEYES wrote:
> On Thu, 31 Oct 1996, Daria wrote:
> > About permanence of digital materials...I dont mean to sound like a doomsday
> > advocate, but I believe its been said many times that in a sophisticated
> > war which the USA is probably capable of participating in (!) electromagnetic
> > weaponry would erase all info from digital type storage, right ? And
> > microfishce and other photofilm storage would be more minimally marred.
> Except that CD-ROMs are optical storage media, rather than magnetic. I
> guess, though, all things considered, I'd prefer warfare that destroys
> information rather than people!
The wave spectrum of a 50 MT nuclear blast would erase any optical media
that it didn't incinerate for a distance of 3 miles and melt plastics
up to 5 miles, so CDs, Microfilm/fische and photographs are out. The
magnetic flux that would occur would erase any magneticly based storage
mechanism for up to seven miles, that accounts for video, audio and dat
tapes. And any paper within 5 miles of a 50mt bomb would spontaneously
combust, even if it wasn't in direct view of the blast, so there go
books, prints etc etc etc.
There is no WWIII proof storage media, but that would be the least of your
concerns because you would be too busy melting yourself, and by the time
that humanity had resurrected itself to an advanced enough technological
state, the remainder of the material would have long since rotted away.
Even if it haden't, mankind probably wouldn't be able interpret the
recording system. After all we are still trying to understand the Easter
Read 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' (sorry, forgotten the author), you might
find it interesting.
(by the way, the figures above are from a Doomsday TV programme broadcast in
the UK which I made some notes from when I was at college, I wasn't very
goot at writing bibliographies then but I believe it was 1986, and BBC)