Friday, September 07, 2007

Armageddon Insurance, Part 2

Yesterday, I started a discussion based on an article from Spiegel Online about a serious suggestion to create an "alternate Earth" on the moon...a storehouse of human knowledge and artifacts that would survive if some disaster overtook us here on Earth. The question I've been thinking about, and which I invited your thoughts on, was this: what five things would you put into the "ark" if you had the chance to vote? I threw off the number "five" without much thought, but as I considered the problem more, I found that I couldn't come up with that many really important things to go into the perpetual storage vault. Here are the three suggestions I finally came up with:

1. The contents of the major libraries of the world. Books, particularly if printed on acid-free paper, will survive where technology-sensitive media won't (can you still listen to those eight-track tapes? Or recover data from those 5-1/4 inch floppy disks?).

2. Black and white photographs of as many people, plants, animals, and things as possible. I
limit it to black-and-white because there aren't any color photo dyes I'm aware of that will last for millenia without fading away...good old B&W will probably survive better.

3. Seeds of as many types of plants as possible.

Why so few? Well, the need to avoid reliance on complex technology for information retrieval is an obvious one, as I mentioned in #1 above. Animals (including humans) won't survive unless we master some sci-fi type of suspended animation. And machines will probably degrade over time to become useless...better to include the books that would tell future generations how to build the machines.

All of the above assuming, of course, that we can still read those books millions of years from now (see my post titled "Don't Dig Here!" from a few days back).

Any other ideas?

Well, I'm officially tired of thinking about doomsday. Tomorrow, we'll take up a new and, hopefully, less depressing topic. In the meantime, you may want to visit It Is a Numeric Life and take her survey on your life's regrets, or A Little Night Music and offer your thoughts on the things you'd do over if you had the chance. I'll be doing both later today.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



noisms said...

Bee hives! For helping the new crops of plants to procreate, and also for a potentially limitless supply of a never-decaying foodstuff.

Amanda said...

I have been thinking of this today (after reading your previous post). So far, I've only come up with the suggestion for the religious teachings of all faiths because it is the foundation of so much in our world. But then, I thought again about how religion is probably the biggest divider of people and perhaps the cause of the Armageddon so....I'm not sure which way to think now.....I think I'll go take that survey :)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

People won't be handing too much insurance after Armageddon.