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Data Storage

  1. Five-Dimensional Data Crystals Exist, Can Store Information for “Practically” Forever

    Scientists can store terabytes of data on laser-encoded glass

    We see science fiction becoming reality all the time, but of all the sci-fi conceits around, societies that store all their information (and giant holograms of Marlon Brando) in glowing "data crystals" seemed to be especially kitschy and out there. Not anymore, as scientists at the UK's University of Southampton have successfully demonstrated the ability to record and retrieve optical data on glass using five-dimensional laser techniques, calling their project the 'Superman' memory crystal. What's more, this technology stands to provide a way for us to store data in massive quantities for a "practically unlimited lifetime."

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  2. What the Government Would Spend to Store All Our Phone Calls — “If” They Were Doing That

    There's no evidence yet that the American government is storing all our phone calls, but if they did it would be pretty expensive.

    It's come out recently that the NSA is keeping records of America's phone calls, which has led some people to conclude that they're also listening to and recording those phone calls as well. There's no evidence to that at the moment, but it hasn't stopped Brewster Kahle from estimating the cost of storing all that data in the cloud. So what's the Government shelling out to hold on to all that data? Let's take a look at Brewster's (estimated) Millions.

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  3. Scientists Code All 154 Shakespeare Sonnets and MP3 Files With DNA

    I recently picked up a 32 gig micro-SD card, and I was impressed by how much data could fit into something so small, but that's nothing compared to the research being done in DNA data storage. Science has been able to code information with DNA, but the amount of data capable of being stored was low, while the error rate was high. New techniques have allowed scientists to encode large amounts of data into DNA, including all 154 Shakespeare sonnets, a photo of their lab, a PDF file, and an MP3 of a portion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and to decode the information from the DNA successfully.

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  4. This Small Piece of Glass Stores Data Forever

    When you order food to your apartment from your phone while on public transit on the way to said apartment, it's readily apparent that we're living in some kind of sci-fi future. We may not have flying cars, but we can watch a whole season of Hell on Wheels from the bathroom even when Wi-Fi isn't available. Future technology begets new and interesting ways to store all the data that future technology requires, so we probably shouldn't be so impressed by this sliver of glass, unveiled by Hitachi, that stores data indefinitely. However, it's a sliver of glass that stores data indefinitely, so we're drooling over here.

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  5. Harvard Researchers Smash DNA Storage Record By Encoding Book, JavaScript and More

    In the interest of technology getting more intimidating the older you get, your future computer is going to be weird. Its processor will switch electrons between quantum states at blazing speeds, and the hard drive might well be biological, storing your family photos, music collection, and Diablo III saves on strands of DNA. A team at Harvard has come one step closer to making DNA storage a practical reality, encoding 11 JPEG images, a Javascript program, and a full book by team leader George Church on a segment of DNA.

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  6. Salt is the Secret for a Six-Fold Increase in Digital Storage

    The need for more digital storage has exploded in recent years and with the advent of cloud computing and storage that appetite has shown no signs of abating. Thankfully, Dr. Joel Yang from the Singapore’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering has found a way to sextuple the amount of data that can be held on a disk using table salt, and some high-tech engineering. Here's how a conventional hard disk works: A circular platter is impregnated with tiny grains of magnetic material, and clusters of these grains are used to store a single bit of information. While Yang's process uses slightly larger structures to store information, his structures are single entities and not clusters, allowing the disk to be more densely packed with information. Apparently it has paid off, as they've managed to cram 3.3 Terabit/in² compared to a measly 0.5 Terabit/in² using traditional storage methods.

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  7. The Cost of a Gigabyte Over the Years

    Moore's Law! Maybe we're about to hit its limits in a few years, maybe we aren't, but for as long as we've been building computers, the roughly biannual doubling of computing power and storage for the same price has done remarkable things, not only at the Watsonian high-end, but in allowing consumers to buy $400 laptops with 4 GB memory and 500 gigs of storage. (Unless they're Apple customers, of course.) Ivan Smith highlights just how transformative the falling price of storage has been from 1981 until present day:

    YEAR -- Price of a Gigabyte 1981 -- $300,000 1987 -- $50,000 1990 -- $10,000 1994 -- $1000 1997 -- $100 2000 -- $10 2004 -- $1 2010 -- $0.10
    (Ivan Smith via David Isenberg via Boing Boing. title pic -- of one megabyte of data in 1961 -- via How Good Is That)

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