How long will information stored in a digital format last? This is really a Long Now topic. I’ve seen some recent attention in the more mainstream (web)press at BBC News and slashdot. This has been an ongoing discussion in the preservation and library community for some time, I’ve been folowing it for 10 years (I’m an archaeologist) and it was a mature topic when I arrived. The short answer is don’t expect it to last (yet), even in an optical format (CD-ROM) without a great deal of attention to keeping it compatable with software and hardware. Evaluating it every 18 months is not unreasonable. If you are involved with an archive of any size at all you can see what an immense pain this would be.
Echelon remains a topic at Wired: France Agog, Aghast Over,
Echelon ‘Proof’ Discovered and elsewhere I’m sure. The original Echelon reports are available as PDF files from the European Parliament’s STOA Programme. I think this will continue to expand and as the pathways and linkages are uncovered and followed the reality will make the most paranoid positions of a year ago seem niave.
Julie has a theory. "It is a theory about pattern, chaos, humanity and the Web." Thanks to CamWorld, where I first saw a link to it.
The surface collection is completed. Next week will bring some test excavations prior to the heavy equipment moving in. Scrambling, scrambling, always rushing to save what little remains before it is gone forever. Why do we care? How can we not care? This particular archaeological site is the last passenger pigeon, the last spring mound in the Las Vegas Valley. We don’t know how they were used, or even who exactly used them. The geologists don’t really know exactly how they were formed. Don’t get me wrong, they have some ideas, good ones, but we’ve never taken one apart to see how and why. Science must test their hypotheses. In a matter of months families will move into houses that will be built there. Will these people know they are sleeping on top of where Native Americans camped for several millenia? I hope so, we get the chance to tell the story. In a matter of weeks bulldozers will destroy forever what we haven’t salvaged. I’m not anti-progress, far from it. But without a sense of place that history and prehistory provides we’re adrift, just another suburban consumer filling the void where our souls should be with material things. Sense objects. Painted cakes do not satisfy.
I’m privileged to provide information about the past to those who would listen. As a Zen Buddhist priest I am also privileged to provide instruction in Zen to those how are curious about that void they pour their houses, careers, cars, social standing, trophy spouses, and technological toys into. I think that when steps are taken to extinguish the ego (Ego) our lives naturally begin to come into alignment with our true natures. That is where happiness lies, when we become true to ourselves and those around us.