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Where does WikiLeaks keep its secrets? In a former military bunker and nuclear shelter under Stockholm’s city streets. Nicknamed the James Bond Villain Data Center, this 8,000-server facility, which could theoretically withstand a nuclear impact, is protected by 24-hour video surveillance and a 2-foot-thick armored door. Two German V12 diesel submarine engines are on standby for backup power. Recycling a war room comes at a price, though: Bahnhof—the ISP that runs the data center—had to have the glass and frames for the walkway and conference room custom-cut to accommodate the curved walls and uneven ceiling.
Before going down into the dark, many miners pray. (So would you.) It’s not uncommon for them to build chapels in the caverns they create, and the workers in this Polish salt mine took that task seriously, carving a 10,400-square-foot chapel into the crystalline walls. Józef Markowski started work on this particular chamber in 1896, handing it off to his brother Tomasz in 1920. Nearly everything in the room—from the chandeliers to the bas-reliefs—is carved out of rock salt. Wieliczka, which was a working mine from the 13th century until 1996, holds some 2,000 excavation chambers on nine underground levels, many decorated by miners with carvings and chapels dedicated to saints—and to those who lost their lives digging sodium chloride out of the earth.
Occupying 10,000 square feet of a 1,000-acre abandoned limestone mine, the Corbis photo locker is currently kept at 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 37 percent relative humidity. The cold, dry conditions prevent deterioration of the photos and film negatives that Corbis has collected over the years, including images of the Wright brothers, Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue, and Rosa Parks seated in the front of a bus. (Iron Mountain is also the federal government’s Noah’s Ark, where all the special people get to relocate when that asteroid comes screaming through the troposphere.) After Corbis finishes cataloging its 20 million photos, the temperature of the archives will be dropped to –4 degrees. That should keep the fathers of flight picture-perfect for the next 2,000 years.