[Beowulf] how Google warps your brain

Kilian CAVALOTTI kilian.cavalotti.work at gmail.com
Mon Oct 25 08:56:20 PDT 2010

On Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM, Robert G. Brown <rgb at phy.duke.edu> wrote:
> the <i>mean</i> lifetime of <i>most</i> books

With all due respect (and a lot is due), using HTML tags to mark
emphasis using a console-only email client, *this* /is/ quite
_twisted_. :)

>  c) Open standards for encoding mechanisms minimize the likelihood of
> losing the rosetta stone that allows even lossy formats to be decoded,
> and hence useful.  If you like, one has to also preserve the encoding
> scheme along with the encoded information.

I would add that being able to easily reconstruct a (physical or
logical) codec system is a mandatory requirement, but that being able
to decode content with no other physical device than the mere support
is a big plus. That's precisely the huge advantage of printed books
over any electronical support you can imagine: you don't need anything
but your eyes and candle light to extract content from them.

It's true that languages and grammar evolve, and that content from
printed books can also be lost, if the language they're printed in
disappears. But that's the case for any kind of text, whatever the
support is.

About physical supports: optical media gets scratched, magnetic media
gets demagnetized, electronic media gets obsoleted, paper media
degrades, stone engraved media takes a lot of room on your shelves.
There's no such thing as a universally good and eternal support.
Ever-going duplication is probably the only way to preserve content on
the long run.


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