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(CNN)   Encyclopedia Britannica is going to stop printing new editions after 250 years. Space report kid inconsolable   (money.cnn.com) divider line 167
    More: Sad, Encyclopedia Britannica, online learning  
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5959 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Mar 2012 at 11:55 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-03-14 01:38:10 AM
I bought a set in 1991 when my son was born. I would read that to him as it was more interesting to me than Dr. Suess. I would never buy another set, but I still mourn that it won't be available anymore.
 
2012-03-14 01:40:23 AM

unyon: SpikeStrip: got a set of world book. anything up to and including 1966 you'd ever want to know.

I've got up to '74. I don't want to spoil it for you, but man eventually walks on the moon. I'm on tenterhooks wondering if a computer will ever come down to the size of a house and be able to play chess, though. I think they might be useful in the future. I'm brushing up on my Fortran programming skills just in case.


i hope you're right lest you be considered a witch.
 
2012-03-14 01:41:41 AM

Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: My vote is for keeping the printed volumes for the ages. And maybe we could set up a special warehouse for them, near the nation's capitol... Say, Alexandria, Va. They'd last forever there.


Oh, yes. It could be a magical place where flying unicorns could guard them. Dreamer.
 
2012-03-14 01:43:14 AM

SuddenlySamhain: I got a Compton Interactive Encyclopedia you can use...but you need a 4X speed CD Rom and 4 megs ram to use it though so....start saving up your money



a precursor to beats headphones.
 
2012-03-14 01:55:34 AM

OniExpress: profplump: I honestly don't understand why you think it would be easier to keep a set of books in good shape for thousands of years than to have someone apply a "Save As..." operation the collection every 5-10 years to keep the electronic version on current media and in easy-to-access file formats.

profplump: Is there some reason you can't well-preserve a digital record for thousands of years?

Let's put it this way: even without all the complications of needing the right hardware/knowledge to read it, the largest problem with digital media storage is that it isn't. Large, that is. Digital storage is very, very small, and the higher density it is the smalle the "ones and zeros" are. So ever scratch, dent, puncture, etc etc... that removes a portion of the data as a whole (and a lot of times increases the risk of it not being read normally at all).

That and the fact that CDs/DVDs rot over time, so they aren't practical for even a few decades.

A good example I've seen is "The Rosetta Disk", from "The Long Now Foundation".

"The Rosetta Disk fits in the palm of your hand, yet it contains over 13,000 pages of information on over 1,500 human languages. The pages are microscopically etched and then electroformed in solid nickel, a process that raises the text very slightly - about 100 nanometers - off of the surface of the disk. Each page is only 400 microns across - about the width of 5 human hairs - and can be read through a microscope at 650X as clearly as you would from print in a book. Individual pages are visible at a much lower magnification of 100X."

Still, one good scratch and you've lost a lot of pages of information.

Depending on the paper/page-material used, books are the best long-term data storage because they can be easily reproduced as well as easily read. You have better odds of 1 out of 10,000 EB's surviving than you do 1 of 1 "Rosetta Disks".


I'm not going to pretend I can predict the future, and what that means for digital data storage. Much greater men than me have addressed the issue.

However, there is only ONE known archive format. Period. Microfilm. ?What why? Because it can be read with a light source and a magnifier (or without actually), and because it lasts for centuries when properly stored. It takes up very little space too.

I have personally handled microfilm from the late 1800's. Do you know what the books looked like, the ones that the film was made from? For one, you can't touch them because they are sealed in vacuum. For another, there isn't a trace of ink left on a single page. Lastly, the leather binding of the book is so fragile that if you were to open the book, it would fall to dust. The microfilm, 100 years old, is still as readable as it was the day they made it.

What, you may ask, does the US government do with all that microfilm? Well they pay people like me to feed it into scanners and populate their servers with it. Ironically enough.
 
2012-03-14 01:58:52 AM

OniExpress: algrant33: Thousands of years?? Go out in the shed and find your 5 1/4" floppy copies of your grad school dissertation from merely 20 years ago. I can name a minimum of 3 reasons you won't be able to open them up.

Go in your dad's shed and find his old deck of punchcards. Try reading through those. Go ahead.

Ugh. Two years ago I had a woman want me to reinstall Windows 95 on a pc for her. Needs a floppy disk. I spent days trying to find one that even worked, and finally gave up.


I just threw a set of those out a few months ago.

Doubt they would have helped you, it was an upgrade set from a Windows 3.1 install, and i didn't have THOSE disks.
 
2012-03-14 02:14:20 AM

unyon: SpikeStrip: got a set of world book. anything up to and including 1966 you'd ever want to know.

I've got up to '74. I don't want to spoil it for you, but man eventually walks on the moon. I'm on tenterhooks wondering if a computer will ever come down to the size of a house and be able to play chess, though. I think they might be useful in the future. I'm brushing up on my Fortran programming skills just in case.


pascal is where its at, man
 
2012-03-14 02:14:30 AM

cman: The Internet has changed our society so much in its short existence.

Ten years from now what else would it have altered in our society?


I worry about the invisible jorbs the internet'll be taking away from shipping, handling, transporation and manufacturing physical product + population growth + rare earth metals depletion + energy crunch for more gizmos. Not everyone can be a tech-head. Darpa => BBS => static web pages => CGI webpage forms => mobile apps => intelligent information gathering => seamless data integration (now) => eyeglasses (augmented reality, coming very soon) => contacts => retinal implants => holodecks => deth.

/BOOM
//it can't end well. and it will end. maybe not in 10 years, but it will
 
2012-03-14 02:16:18 AM
FTFA: "Everyone will want to call this the end of an era, and I understand that," Cauz says. "But there's no sad moment for us. I think outsiders are more nostalgic about the books than I am."

i.e., "fark this old paypa! We go diji! We wanna get paid, muthafarka!"

Subscribah model, beeeyatch......huh.
 
2012-03-14 02:29:58 AM
28.media.tumblr.com
 
2012-03-14 02:32:18 AM

Amos Quito: here to help: B.L.Z. Bub: But you can make backup copies of digital records with little effort and cost. I suppose you could have the printed version as a backup of last resort.

My point is that future civilizations may not be able to access those backups whereas a printed book doesn't need any real effort or expertise to get at the data.


People don't think that far ahead.


You know who ELSE planned for the next thousand years...
 
2012-03-14 02:33:27 AM
 
2012-03-14 02:33:29 AM
I bought the g'kids a set of WorldBooks a couple of years ago. When I saw them I was shocked and saddened (ie. felt ripped-off) by how small they were and how the print was so small it just about takes a magnifying glass to read them.
I doubt that the little snivelers will ever get the enjoyment I had of really perusing the old ones that were chiseled into granite.
 
2012-03-14 02:39:26 AM
At least we still have
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-03-14 02:44:06 AM
The EB jumped the shark after the 1911 edition.

/ Oh, no she din't.
 
2012-03-14 03:22:06 AM

phrawgh: At least we still have
[4.bp.blogspot.com image 300x300]

~
Farking hilarious!
 
2012-03-14 04:30:41 AM

Crabs_Can_Polevault: JerseyTim: He only got a B+ on that space report.

To borrow a line from another, that kid is likely more concerned about prostate exams these days.


Apparently, he runs an amateur porn site, according to the VH1 profile on him.
 
2012-03-14 04:59:50 AM
It makes sense to be honest, but I will go back and BUY the entire 2010 volume when it goes on discount for decorative purposes. Looks great and I need to fill out my bookcases.......my house will look like a library somewhat. Lots of shelving and book cases.
 
2012-03-14 05:29:14 AM
Think how much the very last edition of the printed version of this would be worth in 100 years, heh. At a time when the physical book no longer exists.

It's like something Picard would have in his libary in his state room.

I vastly enjoyed reading encylopedias as a kid. I vastly enjoy reading wikipedia now. I think I would still vastly enjoy reading a physical encyclopedia.. just going through a volume and finding what's interesting. Ok sure I could curl up in a chair with a tablet of some sort, but it's not quite the same.

Would like a set of these, a set of world books, and a set of time life nature and space books.
 
2012-03-14 05:39:44 AM
Ricky won't have to worry about kissing Mr. Lahey's arse anymore.
 
2012-03-14 05:42:15 AM
phrawgh:
At least we still have
[4.bp.blogspot.com image 300x300]


You laugh, but wait until one day when you think you might have echinococcus.
 
2012-03-14 05:45:17 AM
FTA: Cauz says he celebrates those changes, ... Britannica is throwing itself a party on Wednesday.

"We're going to have a cake in the shape of a print set to celebrate," Cauz says, laughing. "Is that morbid?"

You'll live to eat your words mister.
 
2012-03-14 06:20:54 AM

cman: The Internet has changed our society so much in its short existence.

Ten years from now what else would it have altered in our society?


The question is, what comes and changes all of that?

We already see all the stuff that is trying to hold everyone back.
 
2012-03-14 06:36:51 AM

JerseyTim: He only got a B+ on that space report.
[i.ytimg.com image 480x360]


Came for this...though I just realized, he pulls the book off the shelf...the last book...and gets the human body pictures...that's actually the A volume, "anatomy."
 
2012-03-14 06:53:23 AM

JerseyTim: He only got a B+ on that space report.
[i.ytimg.com image 480x360]


Yeah, but that was because there was too much information in the report. I watched this commercial recently, and it amuses me that he walks past the computer to get to the encyclopedias.
 
2012-03-14 07:21:06 AM

algrant33: profplump: I honestly don't understand why you think it would be easier to keep a set of books in good shape for thousands of years than to have someone apply a "Save As..." operation the collection every 5-10 years to keep the electronic version on current media and in easy-to-access file formats.

Steps to keep a set of books in good shape for thousands of years:
1) Have a set of books
2) Keep them somewhere safe
3) Wait thousands of years

4) Look at your set of books and find that there is no ink left on any page and touching one causes it to crumble into dust.
Good plan, there.
 
2012-03-14 08:00:19 AM

Dijon Ketchup: I bought a set in 1991 when my son was born. I would read that to him as it was more interesting to me than Dr. Suess. I would never buy another set, but I still mourn that it won't be available anymore.


Go back and see if there is an entry about Dr. Seuss.
 
2012-03-14 08:02:23 AM
Jimmy Wales laughing maniacally.
 
2012-03-14 08:03:53 AM

profplump: Is there some reason you can't well-preserve a digital record for thousands of years?


Because digital records require a certain level of technology to access them. And that technology depends on other technology, and if any of the technology breaks down, falls out of favor, becomes inaccessible, or is destroyed, then the records are inaccessible. Because if the history of technology is anything, it's that everything is interconnected, that....

oh, I'll just let James Burke explain why you're wrong.

No, please watch the whole thing.
 
2012-03-14 08:06:54 AM
Say it with me "CHANGE IS NOT INHERENTLY BAD"
 
2012-03-14 08:32:56 AM
failedmanhood:

4) Look at your set of books and find that there is no ink left on any page and touching one causes it to crumble into dust.
Good plan, there.

would like a word with you
i44.tinypic.com
 
2012-03-14 08:33:48 AM

profplump: here to help: Printed word, when well preserved, can last for thousands of years.

Is there some reason you can't well-preserve a digital record for thousands of years?


I still have the first mp3 my friend sent to me over ICQ... and that was in 1997 or 1998.

/it was Some Kinda Wonderful by Sky
// ashamed
 
2012-03-14 08:41:33 AM
 
2012-03-14 08:56:37 AM

brap: This makes me sad. I made a point of trying to read our EBs from A to Z under the misguided notion that if I did I would know absolutely EVERYTHING.


Me too, except we were too poor to have EB, we had World Book Encyclopedia.

I still remember being under my covers as a child with a flashlight reading the encyclopedia. I loved it.

BTW, yes I am a dork.
 
2012-03-14 08:59:36 AM

algrant33: profplump: here to help: Printed word, when well preserved, can last for thousands of years.

Is there some reason you can't well-preserve a digital record for thousands of years?

Thousands of years?? Go out in the shed and find your 5 1/4" floppy copies of your grad school dissertation from merely 20 years ago. I can name a minimum of 3 reasons you won't be able to open them up.

Go in your dad's shed and find his old deck of punchcards. Try reading through those. Go ahead.


This is like arguing books aren't durable because newspapers fade after time and melt when they get wet.
 
2012-03-14 09:13:33 AM

JerseyTim: He only got a B+ on that space report.
[i.ytimg.com image 480x360]


Ha!

I looked just like this guy back in highschool, when the commercials first aired. Enough that my nickname was 'Encyclopedia' (also 'Einstein' due to our hair).

Funny part was, he was the son of friends of my theatre teacher. Even she remarked the resemblance was uncanny.

/not so CSB...
 
2012-03-14 09:14:39 AM

FirstNationalBastard: Thank Jebus we still have Wikipedia to rely on!


it's better than Britannica

/about as accurate, more up to date and covers a much broader range of subjects and usually in greater detail
//a lot of people rag on Wikipedia(mostly people who've never been editors or who made one edit that got reverted and now they're bitter)
 
2012-03-14 09:19:03 AM

DanZero: Fast fact -- the space report kid was Donavan Freberg, son of popular ad man Stan Freberg; he was the mysterious voice in those ads, and he also produced the series.


Came here to share that fun fact. Was beaten to the punch.
 
2012-03-14 09:20:52 AM

Disposable Rob: algrant33: profplump: here to help: Printed word, when well preserved, can last for thousands of years.

Is there some reason you can't well-preserve a digital record for thousands of years?

Thousands of years?? Go out in the shed and find your 5 1/4" floppy copies of your grad school dissertation from merely 20 years ago. I can name a minimum of 3 reasons you won't be able to open them up.

Go in your dad's shed and find his old deck of punchcards. Try reading through those. Go ahead.

This is like arguing books aren't durable because newspapers fade after time and melt when they get wet.


Yes, that's exactly what he's saying. Except for the part where he says the complete opposite, which is all of it.

Tell ya what, I'll race you: You take an intact 8" floppy, I'll take an intact document written 2000 years ago in the language of your choice, and the first one who can find the necessary person/hardware to read it wins.
 
2012-03-14 09:22:18 AM

cfletch13: profplump: here to help: Printed word, when well preserved, can last for thousands of years.

Is there some reason you can't well-preserve a digital record for thousands of years?

I still have the first mp3 my friend sent to me over ICQ... and that was in 1997 or 1998.

/it was Some Kinda Wonderful by Sky
// ashamed


Mine was Foreigner's Cold as Ice. I got it from a BBS on my Amstrad PC2286, which wasn't powerful enough to run a native MP3 player under DOS. I had to decode the file to .wav to play it.
 
2012-03-14 09:23:38 AM
I had to do some sort of research paper in middle school many many years ago. We were allowed to take a volume from the library's encyclopaedia home. I had no idea for a subject and just grabbed volume 1 and headed for home.

Leafing through the pages while riding the bus home I found an entry for "Airships." BAM! Had an interesting subject, and developed a life-long love of blimps and airships. Thanks random encyclopaedia volume!

/somewhat CSB
//still haven't ridden in a blimp.
 
2012-03-14 09:27:10 AM

neongoats: Think how much the very last edition of the printed version of this would be worth in 100 years, heh. At a time when the physical book no longer exists.

It's like something Picard would have in his libary in his state room.


I don't know about that. Even with transporters it would be a PITA to move a set of encyclopedias compared to other possessions. I imagine the transporter operator rolling his eyes when he has to push the buttons to lock onto it.
 
2012-03-14 09:54:55 AM
Kids won't read books anymore. It it isn't on their cumpeweter it don't exist.
 
2012-03-14 09:57:03 AM
I still have a dusty old set of Grollier's Children's Book of Knowledge in my storage unit, Every time I go there I think I should discard or donate them but I have so many good memories of paging through them as a kid, when they weren't discolored and didn't smell of rats and moths.
 
2012-03-14 09:57:36 AM
25.media.tumblr.com

Encyclopedia Salesman is very sad. Will now have to become a real burglar.
 
2012-03-14 09:59:04 AM

profplump: ...
I honestly don't understand why you think it would be easier to keep a set of books in good shape for thousands of years than to have someone apply a "Save As..." operation the collection every 5-10 years to keep the electronic version on current media and in easy-to-access file formats.


Data archiving is a constant struggle. There are two factors at play--ease of data recovery, and durability of the archival material.

Properly prepared and stored paper (books) are the most durable, even today, and the easiest to recover.

Anything digital immediately introduces problems with data recovery, because not only do formats change fairly often, but media-reading devices change (who has a floppy drive any more?).

Another problem with digital media is they really don't last very long. CDs and DVDs, especially RW ones, degrade within 5 to 10 years. HDDs fail, and even solid-state memory can degrade over a decade or two.

Some research has gone into metallic or ceramic digital archival media (new window), but it's a constant fight.

Kahabut: Microfilm


...is a good answer too.
 
2012-03-14 10:10:26 AM

Flakeloaf:
Yes, that's exactly what he's saying. Except for the part where he says the complete opposite, which is all of it.

Tell ya what, I'll race you: You take an intact 8" floppy, I'll take an intact document written 2000 years ago in the language of your choice, and the first one who can find the necessary person/hardware to read it wins.


Except you are comparing a specifically temporary medium (floppy discs), which is like the newsprint of the digital world. A better comparison would be to find a particular message on Usenet.
 
2012-03-14 10:24:09 AM
www.originalmmc.com
 
2012-03-14 10:33:50 AM
Static storage of digital media isn't as important because of the ease of copying the material. You don't NEED to keep a floppy of your data secure for centuries because you have an up to date copy of it on your internal hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, and your phone.
 
2012-03-14 11:37:58 AM
We're already past the point where generational transfer becomes trivial. Copying everything out of your boxes of floppy disks was tedious and time-consuming, but how long does it really take to back the content of your 2TB drive onto your new 4TB drive? It takes a while, but you can start the process and let it run.

My worry is that there'll come a day when the tech curve reverses -- when the best new drives will have lower capacity than those from the Golden Age. I don't even want to think about the nightmare scenario where, whenever you need to replace a drive, you need to decide which information gets thrown away forever.
 
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