Dawn of the Digital Preppers

Posted: May 29, 2015 in SWIG


The digital side of prepping is rife with contradictions and curious leaps of faith: how would our hardware and the internet survive an asteroid, or tidal wave, or thermonuclear catastrophe? Much of the content saved by preppers dates from a time long before Project Gutenberg. “There are people who curate these big online databases of free texts,” says Dartnell. “Anything out of the public domain. They’re usually books on permaculture, homesteading, tool-making or blacksmithing, written in the 50s and 60s. People will have scanned them onto microfiche, which has in turn been scanned to digital as PDFs. You can download four megabytes in one go.”

Tech’s presence in the traditional bug-out bag is hotly contested. There’s the obvious trade-off: You can load up a lifetime of reading material, but the device might break and not be fixable. And it can’t be replicated, unlike paper. “One of the things which I was quite tongue-in-cheek about in writing The Knowledge,” Dartnell says, “was that in it I explain how to reprint the book itself. I explain how to make paper and ink, and how to construct a rudimentary printing press. The joke is that this manual contains the genetic instructions for its own reproduction.”

Though his experimental apocalypse guide sells on Kindle, Dartnell places more faith in paper. “If you keep it well protected, paper will not rot, it won’t mold, it won’t burn, it won’t explode. As long as you keep it dry and protected, it’s a pretty good data store.”

It’s an opinion shared by the creators of similar “doomsday books” cited in Dartnell’s bibliography. There’s the crowd-funded proposal to print Wikipedia as 1000 hardback encyclopaedias, and Wikipedia’s own “Terminal Event Management Policy”, which, in the event of an “extinction level threat”, advises the immediate printing and climate-controlled sealed storage of the entirety of the site. In 2011, Kevin Kelly and the Long Now Foundation proposed a similar “Library of Utility”, hidden safely on a mountaintop.

Full Story @ [Motherboard]


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