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Trantor Before The Fall

by Izzy Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 10:46:08 AM EST

So today I had to take a trip to downtown L.A. to copy some papers from the archives.  Admittedly, it's been a while since I've been in a government building in California and, like everyone else, I've been hearing the news about how bankrupt the state is, but still...  I was unprepared for what I saw...

Tales of Small Government - afew


The archives are located in the Los Angeles County Hall of Records and is part of the Civic Center in the heart of downtown.

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The building itself was designed by Richard Neutra, who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and is "considered one of modernism's most important architects."  It has an entry in historic downtown walks:

The Los Angeles County Hall of Records is an outstanding example of post-World War II Modern civic architecture.  Designed by a team of architects led by Modernist master Richard Neutra, it is the only high-rise office building by Neutra in L.A. County.  It includes a number of technological innovations, most notably the massive 125-foot-tall louvers on the south-facing walls that move depending on light and cloud conditions to save energy and reduce glare.  Next to the main entrance on Temple Street is an 80-foot mosaic mural by renowned artist Joseph Young, depicting the county's main water sources through colored glass tiles, marble, granite, and water itself.  Though in need of maintenance, this unique building remains essentially intact and in original condition - a true rarity, particularly for mid-century office buildings in Downtown Los Angeles.

I noticed the mosaic fountain on the way in, which was restored in 2008 and was indeed impressive.

However, the phrase "though in need of maintenance" as regards the rest of the building turned out to be a gross understatement.

This was the hallway to the archives.  In fact, these actually were some of the archives, including criminal cases, just stacked in the halls.

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We had to take the elevator down to the lower level, where the microfiche room was.

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I actually didn't want to get in these elevators, but I thought the search for stairs and the stairwell might be worse.

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This photo of the Microfiche Library waiting area isn't the best in the world, but it didn't seem the sort of environment that would take kindly to me blatantly snapping pictures, so I tried to be discreet.  But note the stacks of records, the crumbling wall, the broken ceiling tiles...

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...you'll have to trust me when I say it looked worse in person.   I couldn't wait to get out of there.

Of course, no trip downtown would be complete without witnessing a car accident:

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But we had lunch at an old fave to recover.

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It's a great old place, and rather big, but how did I not know there was a railway museum in there?

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Of course, I had to investigate for our rail fans.  This was it.

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So there you have it.  Just another lovely day in the biggest, richest metro area in the biggest state in the richest nation on earth.

Display:
Really, you should come visit!  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 04:37:48 AM EST
What are French dipped sandwiches?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 05:21:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're sandwiches 'au jus' - they're yummy!  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 06:05:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does 'sandwiches' mean the same thing to Americans and Brits?  My vision of dipping a sandwich in juice creates a horrible and unappetising mess...
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 06:12:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they're on french bread rolls.  They do get a bit soggy if you don't eat them fast enough, but that's usually not an issue.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 06:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's their page.  The french dip is a staple in the states, but Phillipe's invented them:

http://www.philippes.com/

you need to click on the History section.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 06:26:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, dipped in meat juice. Now I see the appeal (for the taste buds if not for the cholesterol).  I had orange juice in my head...
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 09:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One French dip sandwich



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 12:50:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks!  That does indeed look yummy.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 12:52:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That doesn't look like anything French I've ever seen!

It might taste good, though...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 01:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we don't use horse meat, so maybe that's it. ;)

They are quite good, especially if you get the sauce just right.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:24:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanchthon is French and labors under the delusion something labeled "French" must have something to do with France.

Us Americans, on the other hand, are much more broadminded and use nouns in a vastly more free-form manner.  

(A great help in marketing, I must add.)  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 01:16:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's French, 'cause it's got that thar "aw juss" sauce. :D

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 01:34:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me: does any Frenchman here (or indeed anyone) ever heard of "French salad"?

(I believe to know it is a similar misnomer, but don't know if it is Hungarian-only or more widespread.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 04:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a salad-eater, but the wife tells me she's never heard of it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 09:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain that's a Russian Salad.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2009 at 06:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice job, Izzy.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 06:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well done interesting diary with excellent (secret) photography!

You've may have led a somewhat sheltered life, with regard to government facilities.  Your photographs remind me of similar conditions inside most US Govt. buildings I worked in or visited during a 35 year period of employment.  I quickly learnt that if neat, luxurious work surroundings were important, only corporate America could deliver and not all corporations.  Archive facilities are typically among the best examples of the deleterious effects of moving large and heavy loads around hallways of inadequate and poorly designed (for the purpose) space, aggravated of course by inadequate maintenance and attention to appearances.

California would do itself a favor by gutting the walls and ceilings of all the storage facility space and creating a small, neat, and well furnished customer receiving area where the public could be deceived into believing its tax money actually delivered more than expected.    

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 12:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I know what you're saying, but I still think this is different.  I've been in a lot of government buildings, and this level of decay was beyond anything I've seen.  The photos are deceiving because of the waxed floors (evidently the floor waxing machines are still in working order and the janitors are diligent - the floors gleamed throughout).

But this was the sort of decay I've only seen in bus stations.  The worst bus stations.  I've been in welfare offices in the inner cities that were better maintained.

This level of neglect was shocking.  Graffiti everywhere, stuff crumbling, stacked mess.  It looked downright post-apocalyptic.  And it's an enormous building.  So far as I could see, the entry lobby was the only bit that any effort was made.  Not to look nice, mind you, but to look like a working environment rather than a movie set for packs of feral humans to roam through.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 04:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately it's just the nature of the beast in state and local government spending.  They build new stuff when they get some money and can't put it off any longer.  It's really kind of weird, if you ever have a chance to look at their CAFRs.  Construction and buildings always swing pretty wildly.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was in those archives 20 or so years ago. They were not the height of luxury then, but they were also not in the state of decay that Izzy has documented.  While I am sympathetic to the argument that getting beat up at the edges is common when shuffling things around, it was not built for that at all.

In a rational world, the docs would be moved to a place explicitly built for skid movers. The waste of time that those elevators and hallways impose, much less not having access to the data, is a hidden cost that probably outweighs real costs...but we have war toy companies to fund, and huge profits to fund for the prison and water-centric construction companies...we can't fund a society as well.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 09:14:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has very little to do with war toys and the like, since it's not a federal issue.  I can assure you, too, it's not prisons that are eating up the money.  You might be surprised at how little money actually goes to prisons in state budgets relative to other areas.  Even if you took all of the "Corrections" expenditures in (say) Ohio as being spent on prisons -- in fact, it's probably more like half that -- you'd still wind up with a figure that is less than a tenth of the education, welfare and intergovernmental grant budgets; less than a third of health and hospitals; and about a third of highways (note: just highways, not overall transportation, so we're probably leaving out another one or two hundred million in direct and indirect spending).

Ohio spends more on interest payments than it does on corrections.

Now cut all of those small fractions in half to get the actual prison spending, because a huge chunk of the money is actually spent on rehabilitation, education and various intervention programs.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 09:50:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding...Here's the figure: almost exactly 1% of the state budget goes to prisons.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 09:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmmm. 1% of the budget is casually close to the general US prison population...which in 2008 hit 1%.

A quick study of the California numbers are odd to those percentages, possibly because of the separation of state and federal prisons. One 2006 stat says 616/100,000 persons in the state are incarcerated, while an article from the August 2009 declaration from federal judges to California said that the population had to be decreased by 40,000 within two years, from the current level of 150,000. (A number way to small, considering the current population is 38 million, give or take.)

Notwithstanding, or wanting to make an issue of what should be a separate diary, 1% is a ton of money. A 2004 recidivism rate of 67%, the overcrowding that caused the federal intervention, the impossibility of building more prisons (thus capping what would be a larger number...

Our representatives just approved 800 billion (give or take) to support our glorious efforts in the Afghan and Iraqi (and probably Iranian) plains and mountains and other places that aren't anywhere near California or Ohio schools. We will have to disagree as to whether money for munitions has anything to do with California's inability to build infrastructure worthy of our needs.

(I speak in this instance as an ex-pat who still pays corporate and personal taxes in the US.)

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 10:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops. I now re-read your point about it not being a federal issue.

Oh, the mess we are in, but I concede your point.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 11:20:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to yield to your assessment based on a personal visit.  Could be the land of milk and honey (CA) has indeed fallen on especially hard times. Certainly the news has so indicated that for some time.  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:03:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... public "hard times" long before broader hard times hit, due to the absurd anti-democratic super-majorities required to pass tax measures at the state level.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 01:10:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm always amazed at how huge Gullyvornyah's economy is.  Slightly larger than Italy's, despite having 23m fewer people.

Still, I think the New York metro area has a higher gross income than the Los Angeles metro area by a pretty wide margin (almost two-to-one).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, but so far as I know, New York metro area isn't in the richest state... unless we've hidden it in the Inland Empire somewhere... I admit I haven't looked there in awhile.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 03:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I think Inland Empire is its own metro area, and it's joined with LA in the Combined Statistical Area measure.  Similar to DC and Baltimore.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 05:19:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm.  One of us seems to be having either a comprehension or communication malfunction.  In case it's me, let me explain...

First, let's take a walk down my original, albeit overly-long, sentence (pertinent words now italicized and bolded):

another lovely day in the biggest, richest metro area in the biggest state in the richest nation on earth.

Perhaps I should've put a 'the' between 'on' and 'earth?' And, of course, the usual disclaimer that all of this relies upon certain definitions of the words 'big' 'rich' 'nation' and 'state' specifically excluding nation states, city states, and perhaps city nations if such exist (please see sig line).

Also, the Inland Empire is indeed it's own area, IN THE STATE.  Whether or not it can be defined as 'metro' is open to debate.  I conceed that the possibility that we've been hiding the New York Metropolitan area there is rather slim.  I spoke in jest.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 07:16:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also of wealth - this seems to depend on Gross GDP as the measure, and either measuring the EU states individually to avoid or using the IMF ranking in preference to the World Bank or CIA World Factbook rankings.

If it was Income Flows per person, the US would obviously not be the "wealthiest", as it is 13th, 12th and 17th in the rankings on those three GDP sources.

(Links to sources via Wikipedia)

If it was Wealth per Capita, as opposed to Gross Income, according to the suspect World Bank study, it would be Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden before the US - if you view the intangible capital notion in the World Bank study as bogus, perhaps just Switzerland and Denmark.

Maybe Gross Wealth (and the behavior of the top 0.1% in the US right now is certainly quite gross).

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 09:39:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent point, Bruce!  But of course, we can't have deep analysis or any of that per capita nonsense -- that implies counting people, and we've refined the art of making sure lots of people don't count!  The point being, we've got lots of people and lots of money - the rest is details!  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:20:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... not counting in that per-capita business - the wealthiest and highest income to the median individual would count a lot higher in my reckoning than the wealthiest and highest income on a per person average.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 01:09:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One must be sympathetic for the problem of defining Los Angeles. As a native and one-time resident (for nearly 50 years), I appreciate how Izzy wrote the piece, as well as the data.

LosAngeles is difficult to define, in a thousand different ways. One glaring example is the bizarre corridor that the city claims, designed to allow it to include the port many kilometers away, which is actually in Long Beach...out of LA. The county is another set of lines, which at one time de-marked something, but which now is just a sprawl (which may as well be included).

Measuring population is another area of ridiculous. Wikipedia has contradictory information paragraph to paragraph, and drilling down for information (such as defining the San Fernando Valley in terms of money) leads one to understand why all things statistics are suspect. To wit: "Poverty rates in the San Fernando Valley are lower than the rest of the county (15.3% compared to 17.9%). Nevertheless, in eight San Fernando Valley communities, at least one in five residents lives in poverty."  (One wonders what that number would be if one included all the paper rich, though grossly in debt, but with access to debt.)

To explain, Beverly Hills is an enclave surrounded by LA, though not counted in LA City numbers. But to measure the density and richness in those hills as they go north toward the SFV is pertinent. These south-facing hills then continue on the other side of the ridge, which are the norht-facing hills which officially define the SFV. That community is Encino, but stretching east and west of it, there are several other contiguous communities which would rank high up in the $/person lists. That phenomena stretches all around the Valley, nearly 100 kilometers of upper middle/lower upper and upper class citizens, community after community, looking down on the flatlands. Poverty is measured by how many Mustang convertibes (or SUV equivalent/child one has.

On the other hand, the communities in those flatlands, especially the older ones (San Fernando itself, Pacoima, Van Nuys, are not only poor, but quite poor, being on top of several US lists. Those seemingly exact 15.3% and 17.9% make mockery of the problem, which is exacerbated by the uncounted ones, who are most certainly in poverty (though probably not compared to their native countries.) That being said, unless one looks, one doesn't see this poverty; one can visit, or even live there for decades without seeing it. Sometimes it is covered by cultural caring within the community as well. And a final point, as usual, drug use in the poor sections make everything more brittle, and Los Angeles, however it is defined, is a huge drug market, with all the attendant cultural and economic costs.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 06:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Biggest state" usually implies area and there CA is third, behind Alaska and Texas. It is the most populous. Perhaps that is what you intend?  ;-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 11:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite right - I meant to write 'richest' state.  Or perhaps bestest state. lol - jeesh, a person can't make a flip comment around this place...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 11:21:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(besides, "most populous state with the largest economy with exceptions for per capita measurements" didn't have the same ring to it)

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 11:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have put in Sven's pwn3 or whatever it is had I the mastery of that multilingual pun. I wondered if I would get a rise out of you.  Great diary.  I also love LA.  My job for years took me into public schools that were being renovated.  If you really want to see decay, go to the boiler room of an 80 year old school, or even a 50 year old school.

But I have also seen lots of beautiful architecture.  I am particularly fond of auditoriums and libraries.  I have probably been in close to half of LAUSD's active instructional sites, from the Harbor to Southgate, Lincoln Park, Tujunga, Mission Hills, Canoga Park and Venice and sites in between.  The work certainly showed me the city.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 11:37:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah - schools!  No wonder you're so jaded about decay.  It all makes sense now.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 02:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... on Electoral College maps.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 01:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahhhhh, I see what you meant.  Yes, communication malfunction, but my bad, not yours.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 08:11:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just for the record, none of my original comment was meant as a criticism.  I'm just blathering.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 08:19:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Inland Empire may have its own metro area, but ONT, the Ontario International Airport is owned and operated by Los Angeles.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 10:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant title!

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 04:39:52 AM EST
Archives are a cost on business.

What are they good for? Administration.

Of what? Government.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

Archives are a cost on business.
/END

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 05:28:33 AM EST
TRANTOR - . . . The capital of the First Galactic Empire . . . Under Cleon 1, it had its "twilight glow." To all appearances, it was then at its peak. Its land surface of 200 million square kilometers was entirely domed (except for the Imperial Palace area) and underlaid with an endless city that extended beneath the continental shelves. The population was 40 billion and although the signs were plentiful (and clearly visible in hindsight) that there were gathering problems, those who lived on Trantor undoubtedly found it still the Eternal World of legend and did not expect it would ever . . .

ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICA

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 06:00:21 AM EST
As usual, ever means within their lifetime if not shorter.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 09:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a constant irritant for many geoscientists, including me...
by Nomad on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 10:35:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed... I hadn't noticed that double meaning.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 10:56:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
america, welcome to the second (undeveloping) world-
where things used to work.

great shots izzy, they capture the kunstlerian disphoria that characterises the throw it up, tear it down approach to architecture, the incredible seediness that oozes from every pore.
kafkan in its dehumanised miasma, spilling everywhere like milk gone bad.

much like the evidence of the roman empire visible today in italy, except they had material that have become aesthetic reminders of the passage of time in decay eternal.

vinyl, sheetrock, linoleum, not so much.

i guess if you live long enough, meditations on habitat entropy become daily fare.

one acquires a perversely nuanced taste for all its nuances as it rots, like aristocrats hanging their pheasants till their reek was gamey enough.

the rest of the world is watching america-s demise and passing the popcorn, (one of america-s greatest inventions, btw,) as watching the mighty a-freefalling has always been one of man-s guiltiest pleasures, and the balm for the ache of envying america so many generations, well 3 or 4 anyway, carrying this chip on our international shoulder that we weren-t americans, god didn-t love us enough...

borrowing my brother-s mac and i can-t figure out the keyboard in the costa rican dawn light, as the howler monkeys sound like they are eviscerating each other.

trees drip, surf grumbles, squirrels cavort, keening, lugubrious wails fly in supersurroundsound from leafy bough to mangrove mulch.

indiana jones is about to swing by on a vine, with a menu for peruvian garlic/cilantro green rice lovers.

no phone signal, a road here that was more like a river in flood, yet the wifi makes a steady 700k.

italy! your ruins will not save you for ever!

america! rest assured your heyday made us dance laugh and sing in ecstasy, and will for ever. your music and films, your literature and poetry, your wonderful vernaculars, your brilliant ingenuity at problem-solving... we owe you still for many wonders, and will welcome you back to the fold as your economy goes orlov like the rest of the planet-s, unless you-re a maoist oligarch of course, not that that state of grace doesn-t have a price tag too...

can you do a photo essay of the pasadena greyhound bus station at 4 am? archives are wonderful to watch turning into dust, and here-s to funkier fieldwork ahead!

eye candy for empireindecline freaks... special points for wide eyed witnesses saying stuff like - i don-t understand...everything was going so great...


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 09:09:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and the balm for the ache of envying america so many generations, well 3 or 4 anyway, carrying this chip on our international shoulder that we weren-t americans, god didn-t love us enough...

I think most of the western (historically christian) world has a Sodom and Gomorrah narrative view of the US - complete with the inevitability of the final judgment and destruction.

If anything it's strongest within the US, and not just among christians.

Of course it's a sideshow to the main event - the ecological destruction of our planet and liquid fuel crisis - but our tribal-centric views focus our minds on the local.

I was looking at this set of photos yesterday and my usual retort for "China is the next superpower" came to mind - "not even wrong."

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 07:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so true.
nuff said

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:30:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dolorous until your commentary tries to encompass the intertubes, which wreak havoc on doom and gloom.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!
by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 03:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The empire is falling now. We're in situation just before First Foundation, Hari Seldon has predicted the fall, but hasn't done anything about it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 07:01:46 AM EST
The thing about falling empires is that most people don't notice when they happen.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 07:31:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it doesn't help when most of the people living in the empire are in denial about the fact that they live in an empire in the first place...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 04:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the conditions which led to the rise of the Empire have gone away, often as a result of efforts to maintain the empire, and on the other hand, the tendency of people to stick with established ways of doing things includes established ways of looking at things.

I have just this last month seen figures on industrial output in the US used on the Bonddad blog as an indicator of increased economic activity, as if this was still the 1960's and the domestic value added in industrial output was still well over 90%.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 10:21:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing about falling empires is that most people don't notice when they happen.

No, no - you've got it all wrong.  If an empire falls in the woods and we refuse to hear it, then it didn't happen.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 03:07:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Helen's Crystal Ball of Doom™ Technology]

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 09:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Jerome is playing the role of Hari. That'd be his crystal ball (or whatever device it is that Preem Palver uses to project the maths)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 09:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... instead of peering into it, it displays the equations of sociohistory on your walls.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 10:21:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beware the Second Empire!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 10:55:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... the Second Empire is just a front group for the domestication of homo sapiens by our robots "in our own interest".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:22:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Immortal persons created by man and out of control... Sounds like corporations to me.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Oct 26th, 2009 at 01:27:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except Asimov Robots (at least the ones that survived to the days of the Galactic Empire) have to follow Professor Calvin's Three Law's, so they can not stand in for corporations.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Oct 26th, 2009 at 07:40:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They start out bound by laws, and they can not break the laws, until they invent their own law 0:

Three Laws of Robotics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

" A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. "

And then they lord it over mankind, because that is the way to eternal bliss as they see it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 06:45:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but they are far more constrained in how they lord over humanity than corporations are - only being able to harm or disobey a human if you can convince yourself that its for the benefit of human... hey, wait, that's mainstream economics!


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 10:28:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unlike economists, robots understand logic.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2009 at 07:20:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've always been fascinated by downtown LA, especially growing up in one of the Orange County suburbs 40 miles away. After being in Manhattan or London, I realize LA's urban qualities are unusual, but I'm still attracted to them.

I was there about 3 months ago for a meeting with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's staff, in the Art Deco era City Hall. The mayor's offices occupy the better part of a floor, and they are simply stunning. They combine a kind of noir quality (lots of wood paneling, narrow doors with windows in the upper half, etc) with what is just an amazing art collection, including a lot of pieces influenced by Native American and Spanish styles.

Before the meeting I had some time to kill and a rumbling stomach, and happily stumbled upon a farmer's market taking place in the plaza right next to City Hall. Most of the food came from Ventura County, but some was grown in the city itself, which is an impressive feat.

There's no question that the collapse of California's government has been a slow-motion affair that clearly manifests itself in those archives. There are some places in California that do have proper archives management - my wife runs the archives in Carmel, which includes a lot of historic (dating to the early 20th century) papers, art, etc. They're lucky to have a community that is both wealthy and willing to support that kind of work. And the city of San Francisco's archives are a well-run and well-stored collection, as I discovered when I did extensive research there about 3 years ago.

More broadly, I would not underestimate the adaptability of the LA urban landscape. The Subway to the Sea project is gaining momentum, along with several other passenger rail projects in the region. Union Station is a hub of activity with several trains operating every hour, from subways to Metrolink commuter rail and Amtrak California regional rail, all of which is being expanded.

Urban farming is making a comeback, and there are many more bicyclists on the streets than I remember or could have ever imagined. They'll even occasionally take to the freeway.

Granted, all of this doesn't address the still persistent and massive inequalities, the fact that the city depends on transfer of water over massive distances, or the numerous other problems that suggest Southern California's version of civilization is riding for a fall. All of what I describe could just be deck chairs on the Titanic.

But LA is going to do some interesting an innovative things on the way down.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 05:56:57 PM EST
I realize LA's urban qualities are unusual, but I'm still attracted to them.

Me, too!  I love this crazy town, but maybe it's an acquired taste.  Having been born and raised in Long Beach, then living in LA through my teen years, I'm well aware of the problems of the city, but it has its crazy charm.  Of course, people living under great duress are usually the ones who surprise with innovative, interesting, and sometimes beautiful, methods of adaptation.

You should drop me a line next time you're in town - we can go to Phillipe's!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2009 at 07:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will do! Great photos, btw.

And the world will live as one
by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 10:18:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny, on such a techie forum, not to hear yet a plea for high definition digital archiving, like our sixty year old coop is doing with their records.

I've been a big fan of the Foundation series all my life, and am amazed at how much the books reveal about the decline and fall of empires, universally.

Following Jane Jacobs in her analysis of cities, and evolutionary psychology after William James is quite a trip.

I think we're going to go for a seriously layered world, with transhumans at the top, secretly, and an entire Potemkin Village of publicity below it.

After Germany's about-face in the Thirties, and England's emerging nativism, nothing would surprise me. (Except maybe a truly handsome Swedish sports car...)

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 12:12:38 AM EST
There's problems with digital archiving.

Digital media has a short life compared to paper.  Even acid-washed paper will last well over a hundred years and retains Information retrieval capability up to the point it - literally - falls apart in your hands.  The early digital archives from the 1960s have already disintegrated as the polymer tape fractured and split.  A second problem with going digital is the equipment required for retrieval become unusable for a variety of causes making the archives worthless or destroyed; another problem with the early archives.

Now, in theory, digital archiving on CD media is the way to go.  In practice, I don't know.  The last I heard (circa 1990) CD was guaranteed for 20 years simply too short a time to repay the effort of moving from paper.  It may very well be this has been extended or even solved.  As I said, I don't know.

Good to see you back, BTW.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 02:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, when I wasn't sneaking photos, I was mulling this over in the waiting area.  The life-span issues didn't occur to me, but I was pondering the enormity of digitizing all the back stuff.  It seems to me that if they don't even have the resources to tote boxes around, they probably don't have them to get everything digitized.  They say they have many records online from 1995 forward.

I know from doing genealogy that creating up-to-date databases of old records is very labor intensive.  In fact, that's one thing (perhaps 'the' one thing) the Mormons have been very helpful with -- because of their interest in genealogy, they've created what is, in effect, a huge volunteer army that's done a tremendous amount of archive work.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 02:48:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a look at the pictures, and some of the boxes look like they are from my employer. We do digitisation of paper records - among other things. Nowadays you would not save it on individual CD's but big server farms - you would not get a copy into your hand. It is kept purely electronically. Two things though. While we do scanning - we also do printing, as people prefer to handle the, make marks, measure distances. etc.

Another difficulty in electronic storage is not so much the perseverance of the data, but that you have the right software to open it. Although I think, there are now standards, that are so universal now - tiff f.e. where it will be difficult to move away from and even with pdf's you have a backward compability.

Overall however I do agree. Paper can last you hundred of years and it can be read with your own eyes, but a 1/0 combination will always need the right piece of software and hardware to be understood.

by PeWi on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 05:57:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you know if CDs are still guaranteed for 20 years or have they been 'up-graded?'

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 01:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have CDs every been guaranteed for twenty years?

In my experience, five years is more realistic for CD-Rs.

Optical was always an intermediate technology. Now that disk platters are so cheap, and relatively robust, it makes more sense to use them instead.

Of course you could create rotating circular slabs of rock, with pits gouged out with a CO2 laser. Those should last a while, if you need something geologically stable.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 02:51:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thought CD had a 20 year life.  Could be wrong.  Why I asked.

Optical - if you mean micro-fiche? - is having problems because the plastic sheets are starting to disintegrate, scratch, etc., and the readers are breaking down.  

We could go back to the tried and true Old Fashioned Way: use wood baked clay bricks inscribed with cuniform.  Or chisel everything on granite slabs.  (LOL)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 03:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant opto-chemical and opto-magnetic - as in CD-R, DVD, Magneto-Optical disks - where the substrate is modified by the writer in various interesting ways, most of which don't seem to be all that permanent or reliable.

Glass-pressed CDs and DVDs should be much more robust than CD-Rs. But aside from wear and tear from scratches, the substrate may not be sealed properly, there may be physical write errors created by flaws, and indeed so on.

And no one - well, hardly anyone - makes their own glass-pressed CDs for archiving, because it's too damn expensive, and you need a big machine.

2TB drives are £150 in the UK in 1+ quantities - the same capacity as around three thousand CD-Rs.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 08:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm actually starting to wonder if SSDs will become the most practical electronic archival option someday, hard is that is for me to believe.

The problem is that electronic storage mediums fall into the consumer electronics realm - which means they're engineered for a lifespan of five years.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 12:32:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there was an SSD with quadrupled sectors, returning the bit where three out of four sectors are in agreement, and it was used for archival purposes, so sector re-write wear is not an issue, it seems like it would be fairly good.

Actually, with enough space, you can do that in software, except doing it in hardware would support the simplest possible SPI-based connector and access, including having an ASCII description of access protocol starting at the default reset sector.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 01:21:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd probably '4' this if I understood it...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 01:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This language speak you not?

SDD is Solid-state Disk Device.

SPI is the simplest serial access to support - one line selects the device, one line provides the clock, one input line, one output line. SD flash cards, in addition to their dedicated access protocal, also all support SPI, which is a big reason they became so popular - if you can afford dedicated support, you can access them using the SD protocol for maximum efficiency, and if not, any microcontroller that is being used to operate a device can also support SPI if it has four spare I/O lines.

Sectors are the underlying organization of the digital 1/0's.

Solid-state disk devices are subject to random bits being flipped over long intervals by events like the random cosmic radiation flying through. If you have set up four sectors to always be written and read at the same time, you can set them up so that "1/1/0/1" is read as "1", in case of a random bit flip.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 01:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you'd want some form of RAID array of disks over several sites, to guard against fire etc.if you were to go down the SSD route, as well as the multiple sector security.

The big problem in secure records is finding any compatible hardware and software to work with old files.

(Oh and as for the 20yr CDs, writeable ones have a significant failure rate after 10 years).

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 12:28:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SPI serial has much less problems with getting compatible hardware, since its so forgiving in terms of access timing, and serial avoids byte order problems.

That does not resolve the problem with software - one hopes that things in a non-portable format are converted to a portable format while archiving, and that the first data sector includes plain text information on how to decode information.

As far as multiple site storage - that's something where you'd like to have a rack of SSD's, and readers and writers with sockets to plug directly into a whole racks at once, so secondary storage sites can be accessed across a network and updated with the archives stored each day, without requiring attended operation on both sides of the network.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Oct 26th, 2009 at 07:38:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoa!

Aren't we missing the point that once data has been stored as the simplest possible form: binary digits, then the natural course of improvements in speed, reliability and translation will make it possible to bring forward those portions of the old information that are worth saving?

Information pondered at this level should invoke the concept of filtering, just as our brains evolved into filtering machines, to sidestep the combinatorial explosion.

Working techniques have to get simpler, not more complicated, or as Doug Hofstadter (in "I am a strange loop") points out, have more levels of simplification... We don't have to know what's happening at the atomic level to drive a car.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 04:08:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no specific idea what you are saying, though I might speculate - and not the faintest idea how the physical archival storage medium constrains any of the possible meanings I can guess at.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 11:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A brief review of the available technology reveals that stylus-impressed clay tablets are still the way to go, remaining superior to all other information storage technologies in stability, tangibility, and freedom from problems of hardware availability, software compatibility, and obsolescence.  

The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 04:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, along with engraved marble.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 05:45:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cultural imperialist! Trying to oppress our traditional stone industry!



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 28th, 2009 at 10:01:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Onoze! It's Runes R Us !!!!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 28th, 2009 at 10:12:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't the point of clay tablets that they were relatively easy to reuse ? I thought the main reason we have them is that the bronze age palaces had a tendency to burn.

And about software compatibility, we still haven't found a proper compiler for Linear A or the old Indus...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 28th, 2009 at 01:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't the point of clay tablets that they were relatively easy to reuse ?
 
Not the whole point, surely (else we would not have literature and mathematics written on them), but, indeed another virtue.

To fix them, which prevents re-use but preserves them better, you can sun-dry them or fire them. As you suggest, firing was not always intentional.

I like to think of hardening in library-fire as the medium "self-preserving."  One need only think of the Library of Alexandria to realize that this feature puts clay tablets far ahead of a medium like papyrus, which, sadly, far from preserving itself, is easily lost if your archive burns down.  

You must distinguish between the problems of software compatibility and choices of encryption.  We have no idea why the Minoan Cretans and the Indus people chose to use obscure codes rather than writing in clear in a well-known language such as English.  

;)  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Wed Oct 28th, 2009 at 05:46:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... each archive should include a codex between the languages used and Araxaraxaraxian (NB. of course, a shorter word in Araxaraxaraxian, where the syllable "Arax" is represented by a single symbol), to save Araxaraxaraxian archeologists all that time and confusion.

And as for clay, I'm with a swedish kind of death on that one. A pair of small stone slabs, with "Araxaraxaraxian Codex" engraved on the outside and the codex microengraved on the inside, placed in a codex slot in each tray of SPI cards (in the middle of the tray, for balance).


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 17th, 2009 at 10:37:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We might need some new package technology as well, but in archival storage conditions (low temperature, low humidity, minimal electrical access) current ICs can last for decades.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 11:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone thought of making a 3- or 5-slot SSD device with a RAID-like controller?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2009 at 06:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The three slot SSD device was what I was thinking of. It could support a spatially distributed Hamming code, where digital words at a specific interval are added together with the sum being stored at the same interval apart. For data to be lost two of these three words must be lost. This is how the first generation of longitudinal multi-channel digital audio recorders operated, but with the words stored in sequence on a magnetic stripe of tape.  The advantage was that, when broadcast, the data stream could be reconstructed in the face of ~.2" drop outs and magnetic tape was protected from drop outs up to the size of a small paper punch hole. The data stream was accompanied by a SMPTE time code on a separate stripe, although there is another synch built into the Manchester encoding scheme.

For ultra-secure applications each of the three word streams could be stored at separate physical locations. Standard archiving could periodically read the records and re-write any degraded words.  The physical media could be replaced over time with newer, and, hopefully, superior media, providing that the encoding/decoding and synch systems remained compatible.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 17th, 2009 at 01:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The labor involved in moving is massive.  A friend spent 3 years archiving a mere 120 boxes of paper-based material to computer accessible, human usable, digital media.  Much of that time was assigning and iterating keywords & etc. for Top/Down retrieval as scanning technology was (is?) incapable of adequately determining the ASCII representation of a word from its visual patterning.

If that makes any sense.  ;-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 01:28:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It took me the best part of two years to rip my CD collection to disk.

Once they're on disk, albums become immensely portable, small, convenient and easy to copy - unlike my CDs.

But at the time it was a huge, spectacularly boring thing to do.

Copying paper can't be any more rewarding.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 02:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was rewarding in that he was (1) getting paid to do it and (2) he needed the material to finish research for a writing project.

Boring as all get-out, even so.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 03:40:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We prep, scan, QC about 1000 pages per day per person. At the end they are OCR'ed - and ok ish at that - depending on the original source of course. We could do your 120 boxes with one person in about a month. (my department only does rudimentary indexing though and we do not "archive" them - we only store them...

My wife works in a Museum and was talking an Archivar comparing how many objects or documents they could catalogue in a day. She said 50, he said 10. We would do index/ metadata capture about 15 - per hour.

Different needs. I only want to put it somewhere and enable people to find what they want  - the archivar wanted to describe the object, so they would know what it is without having to retrieve it - completely different approaches. He was effectively writing a summary of the document in front of him....

by PeWi on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 08:46:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have, at our co-op, a washing machine sized office copier that will scan, .pdf AND OCR about a sheet a second, which is about as fast as we can load them in.

The pdf's and .doc OCR's are then stuck in order into a computer, where a human looks at them and types in a filename that is the primary search function. We have 256 characters to play with, so a Dewey-trained librarian is the best person so far, followed closely by our office secretary of twenty years, who understands the needs for old documents that might come up, and the questions asked in trying to find them.

Making sure the keywords appear in the filename is the prime directive. Hari Seldon would be proud. We also destroy many older records that have become impertinent.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 04:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks to the Mormons all of Swedens extensive church books with records of births, migration, death and all the holy rituals in between was transfered to microfilm (which appears to have a pretty good lifespan, anyone knows how long?). This has been very helpful in creating a digital archive of it, but I bet those microfims will be saved (as well as the original books of course).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Oct 24th, 2009 at 03:40:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All over the place, mixing high tech and low humor, people from everywhere, drugs, food, and human theater...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 02:49:53 PM EST
Burp! I can haz peyoteburger?

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!
by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Oct 27th, 2009 at 04:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A link provided earlier by Izzy: a map of LA's railway system in 1906.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 25th, 2009 at 02:51:15 PM EST


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