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Preservation of Knowledge in Case of a Disaster

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posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 01:28 PM
What if civilization as we speak today were to one day vanish, or deteriorate. Will there be a way of decoding all of our past for the benefit of the survivors, or will they lack the understanding of our current civilization and see our remains as useless artifacts?

For the last couple of months I have been wondering about the preservation of knowledge of our entire world and the lack there of. It is extremely important to document our history and knowledge, but over the last couple of decades, technology has massively evolved to the point where almost every piece of information that we hold eminent to our history, knowledge, civilizations, etc is being stored digitally. Even though this practice is considered as a valid way of backing up data, the problem of loosing that data still exists.

How can one teach those who are not "civilized" "our" language, knowledge, inventions, and our history without being present?

The Egyptians seemed to have preserved their "knowledge" in some way, but we're still unable to decipher what they probably wanted to preserve.

The question is, How can we preserve knowledge so that other civilizations can use it in case of extreme chaos?

posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 02:32 PM
Hard drives and their backups basically. This will work for short term catastrophes.

Anything longer term and we would really need some sort of robotic datacenter network with automaintenance. Or maybe digitally etched gold disks in an archive would be a cheaper alternative, depending on the data density.

I do think that the planet does this for us already, via the akashic records. I don't know it does, I just think it might, so don't bite my head off just yet.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 06:11 PM
good question darkmaster

My immediate thought would be of finding some way to place the information we have digitally somewhere out of reach from the natural disaster, nuclear war, end of days scenario that would wipe out the human race. There's the possibility of satellites either in orbit or deep space holding information digitally. My thoughts are that any civilisations that come across any such satellites might have the necessary technology to translate the information it holds. Any civilisation on Earth that could retrieve the satellites in orbit might have the same capability.
There's also the possibility of creating an underground facility holding the information. digitally or on paper. of course, paper degrades... maybe a plastic alternative to paper...

I remember someone said the best way to store information that would stand the test of time would be to carve it into stone. That of course, is pretty much proven! Of course, word for word, there's a lot to carve. maybe shorten the content by reducing parts to symbols/markers... (thinking aloud here) ... maybe not give them everything, but give them enough to go on that they could work it out for themselves... i'll give it more thought...

One thing bothers me. Censorship. Who's to say that the nation(?) building the archive would have access to such information?
Plus, would it be subject to bias? Is there anyone who would be able to compile information that is without bias?

Does it even exist?

Sorry i havent asnwered much... I can't help but question everything!

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 06:16 PM
You gotta have power to power up hard drives..Who says over course of even a few years there is anyone who knows how to operate the PC. In event of a Extinction level event assuming aliens come upon the planet they may not even be able to operate it--maybe they have some records from previous visits.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 08:14 PM
For this very reason, I believe space exploration is important.. to the degree that humanity can propagate itself beyond this planet in the event of catastrophe, at least we will have some group of people to propagate the human race, history and technology. I have hear of groups etching data onto platinum/titanium disc, etc. but even in the business world, they have created off-site contingency. Even if started out by putting a solar-powered data center on the moon, it would be a big step towards securing human legacy.

Some people might say, why even bother or worry about it.. you will be dead so it wont really matter?? But considering that within the planets atmosphere, all material is subject to corrosion, erosion, disintegration, etc... it would be wise for humans to put some form of legacy in the in space away from the destructive forces of nature on this planet. Somewhere down the line, some being human or not, will be able to reconstruct the pieces of our existence.

posted on Sep, 13 2008 @ 04:40 AM
A harddrive is probably by far the worst way to store lasting information... Because it depends on thousands upon thousands of technological advances, not to mention that it require a very sophistic source of energy. Its not like you could power a harddrive with steam and gears. Its also sensitive to the enviroment: a single invisible to the eye piece of dust can completely wreck it.

I believe that the best way is a viewable storage disc/crystal/whatever of some type of lasting material, using different size prints to store the various types of technology blueprints/descriptions. For example, how to build a simple microscope would be in plain sight. How to improve it would be on a disc requiring the use of the microscope. Etc and so on, until we get to such fine print we could store every piece of technology on Earth in a handfull of CD size stacks.

Anything else would either require previous advances, or take so much space its highly inneffective. This way, you would also filter the information given.

I mean, it would be totally pointless to give a harddrive to a caveman. He'd probably use it as a weapon or something. But its not like he could do that with a 100m high metal monolith containing the description on how to make a microscope.

posted on Sep, 13 2008 @ 03:45 PM
"I believe that the best way is a viewable storage disc/crystal/whatever of some type of lasting material, using different size prints to store the various types of technology blueprints/descriptions. For example, how to build a simple microscope would be in plain sight. How to improve it would be on a disc requiring the use of the microscope. Etc and so on, until we get to such fine print we could store every piece of technology on Earth in a handfull of CD size stacks"

That is by far a better idea than mine.

really, much better.

fine! :-P

posted on Sep, 13 2008 @ 04:06 PM
This touches upon a thread I've been contemplating, so will unload it here.

My Bride and I have been putting together a "time capsule". We live on a rocky island with caves and elevation, and we thought about many of these issues. We have thick fiberglass reinforced plastic containers (salvaged from telephone connection downdrops that I found at the dump). They're 1/2" thick and a curved tube that connects in the middle with a SS clamp and sealed rubber grommet. They're about six inches across and about ten inches long. We thought that I could go up into a cave, use a star bit and hammer to make some holes in the cave floor, make a form and pour the container in epoxy, using the holes as anchorage. We could further carry aggregate and water, use a larger form and pour this all in concrete.

The stopping point has not been what media to put inside, but WHAT knowledge to preserve. If the goal is to leave a sign to a post-apolyptic civilization, then one would probably not leave cultural icons. If the goal was preservation of knowledge, then scientific and mathematical text might be best.

Looking at it from a different culture trying to figure out what ours was about, if one used any written text, a "rosetta stone" should be included that helped future entities to decipher the language. We thought about words enscribed on noferric plates. Oxygen is the enemy to storage of things. I can remove a good amount of it, but can't create a perfect vacuum.

Then the question became....... how to mark the rock above the cave so that it would be recognizable as being a non-geological, non-natural formation?

Good thread. I'm now sorry I didn't get off my butt and figure all this stuff out sooner, but hopefully the compilation of great minds here can contribute insights.

thanks again OP

posted on Sep, 15 2008 @ 11:46 AM
To Mark the site

Well the real point is NOT to mark it. However the use of a large body (50 kg) of metal (stainless steel) will make the site findable by magnetic systems. You could also obtain long half-life radioactive materials that will mark the site. Depending on the country you live in that may be difficult.

posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 06:20 AM
Well, I would want to mark the site, otherwise it might never be found. I keep thinking about how humanity frequently finds various artifacts hidden, and then archaeologists/linguists set to deciphering the intent and meaning of the artifacts.

I'd think that radioisotopes would be difficult for anyone to acquire. Your idea of a large mass of metal is a good one; perhaps something nonferric, but shaped into a circle or triangle? Or both?

That's the crux of the problem, I think..... given even 1000 years and a myriad of natural and manmade disasters, can we make anything that will survive to say "look here".

Information that I think would be good to preserve, within context of the OP, would possibly be a cross-section of many cultures, poetry, literature, music, art, languages, mathematics, sciences, astronomy, DNA??? seeds-- all measures of the growth and decline of human beings. A testimony to "what happened" would be important as well. Will some creatures look upon our traces 6,000 or so years from now and ask the question: What happened to them? or worse yet, some claim that we existed (ancient civilization), while others just attribute that to fringe thinking?

Maybe there should be a bunker on the Moon.

[edit on 18-9-2008 by argentus]

posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 01:03 PM
Given human nature a marked site will be destroyed well before a future finder will find it.

Usually such finds are in the ruins of large urban areas, which leave a massive footprint all their own (thinking Mesopotaminan civilizations). Of course they weren't really trying to send a message to the future.

One way might be to determine a method/technique that would allow something like a radioactive material to be safely stored for several thousand years, then release it to mark the site. This would be low level stuff-detectable but not deadly. Another would be to put it into space, ala Professor Jameson, and have a automatic system to release a message/signal to come find it.

The present human culture would be 'seeable' just six thousands years in the future. Take a look at what we can find now to give one an idea of what will survive and were.

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