Re: This message will self-destruct

Dave Long (
Mon, 27 Sep 1999 00:32:41 -0700

> And while this might work for audio or video data, which will degrade
> in ways familiar to archivists today, what does it mean for text? or
> binary machine code? Those things don't degrade well at all.

"And on the pedestal these words appear"

Through time, text does degrade in intelligibility:

Erratum: I'd mentioned the Gutenberg was (barely) meaningful. As
the Gutenberg was printed in Latin, it either hasn't degraded, or
has degraded utterly, depending upon your view of the merits of
learning Greek and Latin. From the description, I had probably
meant to refer to the Ellesmere Chaucer:

So in the long run, say 600 years or so, chances are good that
language and textual coding will have changed so much that it'll
take a musty academic to uncover your parking ticket. Chances are
even better that it'll take a musty academic to care about that
parking ticket.

Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform:
> But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In
> the long run, we are all dead.


See <> for examples of
IT circa 1086, including some go-go growth opportunities:
> In demesne is 1 [plough]; and 21 villans and 1 cottar with 8
> ploughs. There are 4 slaves, woodland for 30 pigs. T.R.E. it was
> worth 100s; and afterwards 7 pounds; now 12 pounds, yet it renders
> 15 pounds.