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Re: [ARSCLIST] Hard disk drives and DAT
On 27/03/07, George Brock-Nannestad wrote:
> From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> - this is a long rant, and philosophical, too, so you might just as
> well leave it, if you are not so inclined. You were warned.
> David Seubert, Andy Kolovos and several others have said all the good
> and sadly correct things. However we must all realize what a shift in
> paradigm this is.
> For centuries, well perhaps millenia, we have been accustomed to
> protecting physical items, and if we did that we would still have our
> cake. Restoration was previously a discipline when it was more like
> repair of function and which destroyed all information that we were
> not aware of at the time. So many of the items we have stored are mere
> shells of what they were, almost like a taxidermically treated bird:
> only the outside has any connection to the original, if we are lucky
> also some bones are preserved, because they could stand the abuse of
> time and because we can perceive them with unaided senses (or we can
> dig deeper by means of instruments). Things had to have inherent
> qualities to survive without attention.
However, before the invention of writing, people had the same problem.
Data storage was done by oral transmission, the physical medium being
the brains of bards.
The use of rhymes and meter in the data format provides some error
Indian mathematicians faced a similar problem. Their written documents
(in Sanskrit) were rapidly destroyed by molds etc in the hot and humid
climate. The solution again was multiple copying, with rhythm used in the
mathematical texts to provide error checking. Numbers were written out
as words ("four thousand" rather than "4000") to provide redundancy.
(See Ifrah, "The Universal History of Numbers", Vol II, p.850)