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The Rosetta Project


Amazingly cool: the Long Now Foundation's Rosetta Project has put together something called the Rosetta disk. (Official page.)

It's three inches across, and it contains 15,000 pages of micro-etched human-readable linguistic information. The goal is to provide a Rosetta stone for the future. The disks are expected to last 2,000 to 10,000 years, and they're making a bunch of them and distributing them to various places to increase the chance that one of them will survive into the future.

When I say "human-readable," I mean "readable to anyone who can optically magnify the pages by 500 times." This is not digital storage; all you need to do is magnify it (and know one of the 2,500 languages represented) to be able to use it. There's a super-cool design on the front with languages spiraling down toward the center, getting smaller and smaller, to make clear that the idea is to use a magnifier.

And in addition to being an amazing idea, it's also gorgeous.

They're currently handcrafted, so a disk from the current prototype run would set you back $25,000. But I'm hoping that they'll make more of them that will be cheaper.

The Rosetta Project does other stuff, too. For example, they're "working to build a publicly accessible digital library of human languages." Sounds like a really worthwhile and interesting organization.


That is amazingly cool! And now I totally want to use a Rosetta disk in a story... (though iirc, Robert Heinlein used a similar idea in Between Planets)

that. is. so. fucking. cool.

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