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Data Storage That Could Outlast the Human Race

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the built-to-last dept.

Data Storage 231

Nerval's Lobster writes "Just in case you haven't been keeping up with the latest in five-dimensional digital data storage using femtocell-laser inscription, here's an update: it works. A team of researchers at the University of Southampton have demonstrated a way to record and retrieve as much as 360 terabytes of digital data onto a single disk of quartz glass in a way that can withstand temperatures of up to 1000 C and should keep the data stable and readable for up to a million years. 'It is thrilling to think that we have created the first document which will likely survive the human race,' said Peter Kazansky, professor of physical optoelectronics at the Univ. of Southampton's Optical Research Centre. 'This technology can secure the last evidence of civilization: all we've learnt will not be forgotten.' Leaving aside the question of how many Twitter posts and Facebook updates really need to be preserved longer than the human species, the technology appears to have tremendous potential for low-cost, long-term, high-volume archiving of enormous databanks. The quartz-glass technique relies on lasers pulsing one quadrillion times per second though a modulator that splits each pulse into 256 beams, generating a holographic image that is recorded on self-assembled nanostructures within a disk of fused-quartz glass. The data are stored in a five-dimensional matrix—the size and directional orientation of each nanostructured dot becomes dimensions four and five, in addition to the usual X, Y and Z axes that describe physical location. Files are written in three layers of dots, separated by five micrometers within a disk of quartz glass nicknamed 'Superman memory crystal' by researchers. (Hitachi has also been researching something similar.)"

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Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44247773)

Or rather completely irrelevant. Nothing to see here except a few people that want attention. The issue with long-term storage is _not_ how to preserve the bits. It is how to preserve Reading equipment and, even more difficult, software that can read the data stored and transform it into something the user can read.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (3, Funny)

Wescotte (732385) | about a year ago | (#44247779)

Dude, did you not read the article?! It's 5D!!!

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#44247865)

Who could ever need more than 4D?

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (5, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44247897)

I'm happy with DD (2D?), but prefer C myself.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (3, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44248195)

Fucking A! (or is that illegal these days)

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (2)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#44248383)

I don't think there are any laws against fucking up the ass, but you might want to check with your local government to make sure...

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247803)

Exactly. The concept of a post-apocalypse tribal society restoring mankinds' knowledge with femtocell lasers is hilarious.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (2)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#44247875)

A post-apocalypse society of autodidactic polymaths with eidetic mentation would make short work of figuring it out.

Re: Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

Nostromo21 (1947840) | about a year ago | (#44248205)

Your kung fu is strong young grasshopper ;).

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (5, Interesting)

shia84 (1985626) | about a year ago | (#44247941)

Who cares about a post-apocalypse tribal society on a pre-modern tech stage trying to restore mankinds' knowledge?
Give them 10k more years and they'll manage to do it with femtocell lasers just fine. Or 50k years, it really doesn't matter, it simply shrinks compared to the idea that some cataclysm just wiped out all books accessible in the world, all professional knowledge, reading skills, parents-teaching-offspring, dozens of other information carrying media types (respectively it's usage knowledge) that would be around anyway etc. which could allow them to get up and running more quickly... but somehow left a few humans alive.

This storage type is not meant for a post-apocalypse tribal society restoring mankinds' knowledge. But some of us would be happy if the now often unreadable magnetic records from 70 years ago would have been stored on something more durable.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (4, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | about a year ago | (#44248605)

But some of us would be happy if the now often unreadable magnetic records from 70 years ago would have been stored on something more durable.

Because those TPS reports will make great reading?

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#44247975)

The concept of a post-apocalypse tribal society restoring mankinds' knowledge with femtocell lasers is hilarious.

Femtocell Sharks.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (4, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44247835)

Ah, you must be a data storage specialist, Sir. Probably you even have your own research lab doing R & D in exactly the direction these talented people work in, and you know all the relevant literature, went to the important conferences. Otherwise you would not, I trust, have emitted such a peremptory yet wise judgment ?

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (5, Funny)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year ago | (#44247987)

He does have a 5 Digit id.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248033)

It's a shame the mods here lack a sense of humor :D

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248291)

This is Slashdot. If something is funny is determined by the following algorithm:

meme = find_matching_meme(post)
  if (meme == none)
    return not_funny
  else if (meme.category = funny_meme)
    return funny
  else
    return not_funny

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44248417)

This is Slashdot. Please trim the redundant branches from your joke code in future to aid readability:


meme = find_matching_meme(post)

if (meme && meme.category == funny_meme)
        return funny
else
        return not_funny

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

geirlk (171706) | about a year ago | (#44248545)

I guess I'll steal this and post where slightly relevant.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44248103)

Ah, it is so nice to be appreciated and understood! Thank you!

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (3, Insightful)

Aboroth (1841308) | about a year ago | (#44248215)

Researchers are used to overselling their discoveries all the time, to continue or get more funding. While they might be doing boring materials science, they have to come up with lots of pie-in-the-sky ideas about what their research could potentially be used for, if somebody can ever get enough engineers together to figure out the pesky implementation details. Geeks around here have heard promise after promise about revolutionary storage technology that goes nowhere precisely because of this drastic overselling to grab research money. It would be nice if the research system didn't force people to do this, but you can't be surprised by the skeptics of this given the nature of the beast.

So no, I don't expect that the people who did this research care about the feasibility of the reading technology lasting as long as the data. Well, they probably care a little, but they did something and are going to brag about it as much as possible without focusing on the downsides or unfinished parts too much. It isn't their problem, they just do the research and sell it with hype, to get more money to do more research. The implementation and feasibility studies aren't their problem, that is, unless somebody gives them more money to do those things.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248315)

However he raises a good point. Storing data is one thing, but how is it to be read far in the future? I think tapes and VCRs would be a good example of this.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248493)

Your snark and seemingly insight aside, he hits the nail on the head.

Storing data is a problem, but not the core issue. The core is accessing it, where the interface and encoding (software) was spoken about.

Let me use a car analogy: We can encode all possible information we want on a couple of bricks (thing gold inlays), put them into a car, and then shoot that car into space. If we pick a region that we consider to be "quite empty", that data on the bricks is going to survive mankind. Maybe even a few tens of million or even billion years.
What is going to pose a problem is to retrieve that information again, which is what your Parent was talking about. What good is your sugar-cube sized gem worth if it is buried deep within the earth, and no one knows how to read it, even if they found it?

This all aside: it is a pretty cool idea to assume we'd store our current scientific, cultural state every 10 years on such a thing and left them in a place where "coming races" (I am not even talking about coming generations) might find them. So I'm all for: Let's do it, this is awesome. And if you want, you can also encode a picture of your junk and call it "information about our biology".

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247863)

I'm personally more interested on the fact it's data stored on a crystal.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247973)

Currently, the reading equipment tends to outlast the tapes. As for the reading software, we can back those up too. So no, this invention is indeed useful.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44248111)

Not for tape _archiving_. There the tapes have 30-50 years lifetime, while the drives have 5 years. Also not for MOD. There the disks have >80 years, while the drives again have 5 years.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (2)

Alef (605149) | about a year ago | (#44248069)

It is how to preserve Reading equipment and, even more difficult, software that can read the data stored and transform it into something the user can read.

Oh, really? Well, in that case the equipment part must be trivial. Or what exactly do you think would be so difficult about reverse engineering a file format, in particular one that has been designed to be reverse engineered in the first place?

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44248079)

Software is no issue, you can just store a description of the algorithms in ASCII. Even if the ASCII standard is lost, a little frequency counting will be enough to rediscover it.

A greater issue is keeping it readable to humans: In ten thousand years, English will probably be about as commonly-spoken as linear-A.

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44248115)

Or rather completely irrelevant. Nothing to see here except a few people that want attention. The issue with long-term storage is _not_ how to preserve the bits. It is how to preserve Reading equipment and, even more difficult, software that can read the data stored and transform it into something the user can read.

some data was recorded in quartz glass before this too. data visible by naked eye,too.

by them going for this angle in their press release makes me think that their method isn't too practical for data storage though...

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#44248125)

some data was recorded in quartz glass before this too. data visible by naked eye,too.

by them going for this angle in their press release makes me think that their method isn't too practical for data storage though...

Indeed. Good catch!

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44248253)

If storing the data is "completely irrelevant" I wonder what it is you expect to read once you've engineered high-longevity reading equipment. Aren't both kind of important, smartarse?

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#44248453)

Oh no! Not scientific research! How dare it not have immediate marketing applications!

Re:Another "magic" storage tech. BS, as usual. (2)

pantaril (1624521) | about a year ago | (#44248459)

The issue with long-term storage is _not_ how to preserve the bits

This is wrong. For example with my collection of optical disks my problem is precisly how to preserve the bits. Reading equipment is non-issue.

How to read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247777)

When you can't read the specs of the 5-dimension layer in your cave with axe and fire...

Re:How to read (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44247787)

No that's true, but that also assumes that cavemen would be the intended audience.

Rosetta Stone (3, Insightful)

blackicye (760472) | about a year ago | (#44247791)

They could also deeply engrave rocks and stone tablets and for really important messages mountains and other large surfaces.

Worked pretty well for the ancients.

Re:Rosetta Stone (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#44247995)

Yeah, but that only lasts a few thousand years, and it also suffers the same problems that we have now, in that interpreting that data is the job of specialists, not the common person.

Re:Rosetta Stone (2)

mythix (2589549) | about a year ago | (#44248029)

The quartz-glass technique relies on lasers pulsing one quadrillion times per second though a modulator that splits each pulse into 256 beams, generating a holographic image that is recorded on self-assembled nanostructures within a disk of fused-quartz glass.

now THAT is something the common person will be able to read!

Re:Rosetta Stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248023)

They could also deeply engrave rocks and stone tablets and for really important messages mountains and other large surfaces.

Worked pretty well for the ancients.

As with this crystal disk, the problem [blogspot.com] is in [bing.net] the decoding [discoveringplaces.co.uk] .

Re:Rosetta Stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248369)

A disk of fused-quartz glass basically *is* a stone tablet, and they are deeply engraving it with a laser...

Re:Rosetta Stone (1)

Common Joe (2807741) | about a year ago | (#44248463)

We did it too. [wikipedia.org] Although, I'm not really sure what we were trying to say...

Re:Rosetta Stone (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#44248701)

That sculpture is quite vulnerable by having 3D structures on an exposed face. It's made of granite so it will withstand erosion for thousands of years, and it's in a geologically stable area so it will last a bunch, but I don't see it surviving longer than several tens or at most a few hundred thousand years.

For some real resilience, make it a bas relief without any jutting out parts [wikipedia.org] .

I can see the future... (1)

dexotaku (1136235) | about a year ago | (#44247819)

Every warning about not having the specific non-obvious [and in its time, patented + proprietary] tech to read the media comes into play here.

Naked and petrified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247821)

A naked and petrified Natalie Portman would surely outlast the human race - or maybe Mae Ling Mak if Natalie isn't available. Simply cover her in hot grits, and engrave the entire wisdom of humanity onto her boobs. That way alien visitors from the future will be sure to notice.

THIS is what our research funding needs to be spent on, not some "1000C quartz disc" crap.

But is it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247823)

Dropbox?

Re:But is it... (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44248173)

They could never keep up their schedule of yearly security breaches for millions of years.

Well... someone should be happy... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44247829)

Guess which of the 3-letter-agencies will spend some budget for the tech?

Oh great, another way for Scientology to suck out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247849)

more money from its members, after they already forked out their life savings to pay for those stainless steel plates of his "scripture" Sci-Fi drivel inside those titanium vaults...

In the distant future... (4, Funny)

BeerCat (685972) | about a year ago | (#44247869)

Archeologists find one of these pieces of quartz, and then (through a lifetime's study) work out that they are not just pretty baubles, but are actually data storage devices. The excitement builds. Whole teams of researchers devote their life to the task of decoding the message - after all, the Rosetta Stone gave a lot of incite into the ancients - and then finally, the day comes when someone has worked it all out:

99 crystals contain cat pictures

1 of them contains the instructions on how to build the reader

And, tucked into one small segment of one of the crystals, almost as an afterthought, the digitised Bodlean Library, and the Library of Congress. Pity that bit was a bit chipped...

Re:In the distant future... (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#44247927)

Archeologists find one of these pieces of quartz, and then researchers immediately discover their true properties and an enormous treasure-trove of human history is revealed. For the rest of the story, buy the novel.

Re:In the distant future... (4, Funny)

Issarlk (1429361) | about a year ago | (#44248427)

You forgot the crystal containing the FBI warnings about piracy.

outlast humans? who will be able to decode/read it (1)

ardiri (245358) | about a year ago | (#44247883)

... not like the future "beings" of this planet are going to be able to figure out how to read the damn thing - we've all see planet of the apes and how inferior those beings were.. good use to document everything if it is just a hologram on a piece of rock..

Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247885)

Imagine if such a thing would be on Mars, left there by some ancient civilization. Now all we have to do is find it. Should be easy, right?

You know it is comming.... (1)

balaband (1286038) | about a year ago | (#44247901)

Now we only need kickstarter to put all known port to couple of these babies

Re:You know it is comming.... (1)

balaband (1286038) | about a year ago | (#44247921)

porn*

Re:You know it is comming.... (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#44247935)

I think you just said "somebody set up us the bomb", right?

One Million Years Later (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#44247979)

"It has not been discovered what these disc-shaped glass objects were intended to symbolize, but it is now believed that they served either as ceremonial ornaments or a crude form of currency."

Re:One Million Years Later (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248437)

Other experts opinionated that since it's round it obviously represents a solar symbol or a related deity.
The disc was probably worn on the priest head or served as a mirror in certain rituals. The carvings on the box in which it was found clearly show a ray of light hitting the surface of the disc and the writings on the same box must also carry some sort of numerologist significance.

Pseudo-scientists claim that the level of machine work needed to produce such discs is close to our current space-age technology but independent experts have been unable to find proof for this, really fine sand seems to have been used.

Re:One Million Years Later (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248653)

"Look honey, pretty coasters". Then, after many years, a deaf man looked more closely at a coaster, and exclaimed "I see structure !". And so they were decoded. But all that the still usable discs yielded were porn flicks and a few Bugs Bunny cartoons ...

Storing bits and ways to read them (2)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year ago | (#44247981)


So I don't know about this latest and greatest storage tech but I have a few ideas of my own...Rock. Rock can last a long time. Of course chiseling information into rock is not really a viable option for gigabyte scale information storage, let alone the petabytes required...

I propose storing the data in whatever medium is most likely to be preserved & the instructions on how to read the media be chiseled into rock. Those same instructions could be used to decompress a small subset of information to give further instructions on how to create a device that can read the rest of the data.

I suggest rock because it's cheap and durable...of course there are other, more durable materials out there...

Re:Storing bits and ways to read them (1)

andrewbaldwin (442273) | about a year ago | (#44248129)

I cannot recall where I read about this approach so apologies to the originator for not granting credit where it is due.

A long piece of rock (or other material) can be used to encode a huge amount of data with just one mark.

You need a long flat rock and the means of measuring length very accurately. **

First, encode data as a string of bits.
Then take that enormous binary string and treat it as a really big number X and put the mark to divide the length of the rock into the ratio 1:X

The accuracy limits will be governed by the size of the rock, thermal and other causes for expansion/contraction and deformation and (depending on how accurately you make the cut / how much compression you want to achieve) quantum effects on the fine grained positioning.

Multiple marks on the same rock provide extra "layers" of recording.

Just imagine - the whole of Slashdot's debates reduced to a single scratch ;-)

** Actually you need a means of defining what you mean by length first - take into account surface irregularities... [cf lengths of coastlines - thanks Mandelbrot!!]

Ah, the scratch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248249)

...is called "arithmetic coding":

Here you go [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ah, the scratch... (1)

bryonak (836632) | about a year ago | (#44248259)

You're describing arithmetic coding, a fairly standard entropy based compression method e.g. used in DMC or PPM.
The problem is, as you point out, that the accuracy required for large amounts of data becomes quite tricky. Measuring would be nontrivial, as direct measurement (whole block compared to some length, or photographing and counting pixels, or anything that gives you the number of atom layers in the block) requires crazy high resolutions, while time based measurement (laser traversal) needs very precise alignment of a slab of rock to atom level accuracy.
And I imagine natural erosion, material stretching/contraction etc. will become non-negligible factors.

Re:Ah, the scratch... (1)

bryonak (836632) | about a year ago | (#44248269)

Err, meant to reply to your parent and hit refresh&reply to see if anybody else had posted already :)

Five-dimensional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44247983)

So they not only confirmed the extra dimensions string theory predicts, but even managed to store data in them?

Re:Five-dimensional? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year ago | (#44248165)

Congratulations on almost finishing the summary.

Re:Five-dimensional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248443)

So you can simultaneously put two differently sized nanodots at the same position? Or two differently oriented nanodots? Because you'd have to be able do that to justify the term "dimension".

Re:Five-dimensional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248297)

Facepalm.

Re:Five-dimensional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248543)

Or whoosh.

Oblig. Men in Black quote (2)

shikaisi (1816846) | about a year ago | (#44248013)

Guess I'll have to buy the White Album again...

Internet Archive and NSA (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44248019)

This will be great: intelligent squirrels will be treated to yottabytes of Slashdot flame wars and images of grumpy cat. And they'll conclude that our civilization was inevitably doomed.

Re:Internet Archive and NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248569)

It's probably doomed anyway; once we get to these volumes of storage we won't be able to find anything. Hal Draper said it first..
http://home.comcast.net/~bcleere/texts/draper.html

Halfway there (4, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#44248025)

Now we just need to build a license server that will operate for a million years, so the DRM-encrypted data will still be readable.

Can't even decipher pictures (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year ago | (#44248053)

We had enough trouble deciphering pictures of glyphs from ancient civilisation. This is a fancy data storage medium but you have no chance in ever deciphering it in the future.

The quartz-glass technique relies on lasers pulsing one quadrillion times per second though a modulator that splits each pulse into 256 beams, generating a holographic image that is recorded on self-assembled nanostructures within a disk of fused-quartz glass. The data are stored in a five-dimensional matrix—the size and directional orientation of each nanostructured dot becomes dimensions four and five, in addition to the usual X, Y and Z axes that describe physical location. Files are written in three layers of dots, separated by five micrometers within a disk of quartz glass nicknamed 'Superman memory crystal' by researchers

So the obvious question is where and how do we store this user manual? The only storage medium I know of that will last that long is a disc of quartz glass.

Really? (1)

aglider (2435074) | about a year ago | (#44248085)

Does this disk withstand a drop or any other mechanical stress?
How can "someone" coming after the human race has vanished read that disk?

Re:Really? (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44248223)

It doesn't and they can't.

Roughly 2500 years ago two thinkers, Herakleites in Greece and Gautama Siddartha in India most likely independent of each other came to the conclusion that permanence doesn't exist in the world. Both used their insight to lay the foundations of philosophical traditions that informed Western and Eastern thought to this very day. In the 19th century the laws of thermodynamic more or less confirmed those insights. despite all that many people still stubbornly try to beat the inevitable and dream of their legacy lasting forever.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44248265)

came to the conclusion that permanence doesn't exist in the world. [...] informed Western and Eastern thought to this very day

Yeah, no permanence there.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248311)

You, Sir or Madam, made my day.

Size is a dimension? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44248219)

The data are stored in a five-dimensional matrix - the size and directional orientation becomes dimensions four and five, in addition to the usual X, Y and Z

So my cock travels in the 4th dimension when I watch pr0n?

Re:Size is a dimension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248301)

No, but when it becomes from soft to erect.

Re:Size is a dimension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248325)

The data are stored in a five-dimensional matrix - the size and directional orientation becomes dimensions four and five, in addition to the usual X, Y and Z

So my cock travels in the 4th dimension when I watch pr0n?

It would, were it not accurately described with just X, Y and Z, as typical for objects that themselves have zero or negligible spatial extent.

Re:Size is a dimension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248611)

There are dimensions to things.

And with respect to a frame of reference, things can have more or less dimensions than we are normally used to.
Writing Paper, for example, the absolute thinnest useful paper, is 2D for all intents and purposes. It cannot go any smaller without it being useful as writing paper.
A sheet of atoms exactly aligned in one of the dimensions, that would be considered 2D as well because an atomic structure literally cannot go smaller without crushing the structure, which would require a blackhole of stupid sizes to make sure that the entire structure was crushed evenly.

Technically your cock is 4D if you put it under this definition system.
Your penis has 4 main facets to it, it exists in X, Y and Z directions, and it can go from limp to erect. I guess you could probably add more to it with regards to reactions.

And finally, this device is also technically might not even 5D under this description.
In any modern storage system, the X, Y and Z coords of a bit in space are worthless for the sake of writing data.
The only thing that matters is platter, sector and, oh I am forgetting the word, where the bit is finally stored.
Anyway, unless this system replicates that, it might have less dimensions. Hell, it might have even more if XYZ DOES matter.

In the short term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248225)

I'm not interested in a million years.
I keep seeing warnings that the backup DVDs I burn are only good for a few years and need periodic re-copying.
I just want storage that'll last longer than I do.

Double your storage capacity! (4, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | about a year ago | (#44248247)

Apparently if you chip out a small square of quartz from the top edge, you can flip the disk over and store another 360 Terrabytes on the other side. The manaufacturers don't want you knowing this, of course, as they want to sell 720 TB stroage at a premium price.

Check those meterorites! (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#44248255)

We thought we were pretty cool putting a gold plated disc on voyager. Maybe peppering the universe with crystals embedded in rock would be a better way of spreading the word... better start looking inside those meteorites!

Anyone else think this? (1)

Lilian Durr (2857419) | about a year ago | (#44248281)

I used to imagine us leaving an SSD with all human info for future people to discover. Then it occurred to me that they might not have the means to see what's in the drives in the first place. Well, back to carving on stone.

Re:Anyone else think this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248457)

Just carve the complete manual for the SSDs and quartz discs in stone, in multiple languages.

What about bandwidth? Rewritability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248331)

That are the real questions.

Read speed?
Write speed?
Could this be used as a hard disc, or is it more like a CDR?

five-dimensional ? (1)

thygate (1590197) | about a year ago | (#44248379)

how does that work with only 3 spacial dimensions ?

Re:five-dimensional ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248601)

how does that work with only 3 spacial dimensions ?

yep this is stupid....there are only 3 physical dimensions, if you are separating something by 5 mm ....its still only 3 freaking dimensions.

Re:five-dimensional ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248637)

The same way an RGB picture is 5D.

Re:five-dimensional ? (2)

Superdarion (1286310) | about a year ago | (#44248663)

It's 3 spatial dimensions + Size and Orientation of the molecules, all of which they can measure. They could have avoided ambiguity by using "Degrees of Freedom" instead of "dimensions" but 5D is quite catchy.

Scale problems (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44248407)

A team of researchers at the University of Southampton have demonstrated a way to record and retrieve as much as 360 terabytes of digital data onto a single disk of quartz glass

Unfortunately that single disc is 150ft wide.

Has someone checked crystals in the ground ? :-) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248421)

Have they tried putting a crystal rock from the ground in the reader to see if someone or something has done this before ? ;-) ( mostly )

aziz, LIGHT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248509)

now we just need a laser that will last (be functional) for a million years -AND- a repair manual that
will last just as long and all will be good in the land of english speaking data storages ...

superman's crystals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248525)

is this technology like the "crystals" in superman?

Wow, that's amazing! (3, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#44248617)

A millions years from now, the first new sentient evolutionary forms that discover the fallen towers of we the ancient gods will proudly hold these precious disks up to the light. Holograms dense with data will dance within the crystalline structures before their eyes. In their grasp will be the records of our progress -- all our science and forewarnings of its power, high definition videos of escapades among the stars, and the description of a state machine to decode it. They will have in their possession an invaluable source for goodness guiding a maddening leap from their understanding to ours that they may forge a society greater still than our own...
And they'll make down right amazing discoveries day after day in necklace design from each and every one.

Rosetta Disk (4, Informative)

handy_vandal (606174) | about a year ago | (#44248645)

See also Rosetta Disk:

The Rosetta Disk is the physical companion of the Rosetta Digital Language Archive, and a prototype of one facet of The Long Now Foundation's 10,000-Year Library. The Rosetta Disk is intended to be a durable archive of human languages, as well as an aesthetic object that suggests a journey of the imagination across culture and history. We have attempted to create a unique physical artifact which evokes the great diversity of human experience as well as the incredible variety of symbolic systems we have constructed to understand and communicate that experience.

The Disk surface shown here [rosettaproject.org] , meant to be a guide to the contents, is etched with a central image of the earth and a message written in eight major world languages: “Languages of the World: This is an archive of over 1,500 human languages assembled in the year 02008 C.E. Magnify 1,000 times to find over 13,000 pages of language documentation.” The text begins at eye-readable scale and spirals down to nano-scale. This tapered ring of languages is intended to maximize the number of people that will be able to read something immediately upon picking up the Disk, as well as implying the directions for using it—‘get a magnifier and there is more.’

On the reverse side of the disk from the globe graphic are over 13,000 microetched pages of language documentation. Since each page is a physical rather than digital image, there is no platform or format dependency. Reading the Disk requires only optical magnification. Each page is .019 inches, or half a millimeter, across. This is about equal in width to 5 human hairs, and can be read with a 650X microscope (individual pages are clearly visible with 100X magnification).

The 13,000 pages in the collection contain documentation on over 1500 languages gathered from archives around the world. For each language we have several categories of data—descriptions of the speech community, maps of their location(s), and information on writing systems and literacy. We also collect grammatical information including descriptions of the sounds of the language, how words and larger linguistic structures like sentences are formed, a basic vocabulary list (known as a “Swadesh List”), and whenever possible, texts. Many of our texts are transcribed oral narratives. Others are translations such as the beginning chapters of the Book of Genesis or the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Source: The Rosetta Project [rosettaproject.org]

Will humanity's knowledge be DRM free? (1)

FauxReal (653820) | about a year ago | (#44248683)

I'd hate for some future sentient species to find these discs and an intact reader but not have the proper subscription keys to authorize decoding.

ReiserFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248709)

the only supported filesystem will be resierFS... when Reiser get's out of jail in about million years :)

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