Lego History and the Rosetta Stone of the future?


The lego minifig (the little human figure) is celebrating its 30 year birthday today. Yeah Lego! Gizmodo is running a contest for best picture or short film using the minifig. The first and second prizes are the best Lego sets of all time! My brothers and I got these sets as kids. So many memories

Yellow Castle Set

Galaxy Explorer Set

So many, many meomories come flooding back when I see these pictures. Most of the pieces of these sets are still at my parents’ house.  Check out the videos on Gizmodo for a quick history of the world, told by Legos.


I heard through Slashdot about a project to create the ultimate Rosetta Stone of the future.

Rosetta Front

The disk will contain text inscribed in nickel, making it impervious to water and all but physical destruction. Written in eight languages, the disk contains over 15,000 documents. The only technology needed to view and decode this disk is a magnifying glass… with a magnification of at least 1000x. From the website…

The Disk surface shown here, meant to be a guide to the contents, is etched with a central image of the earth and a message written in eight major world languages: “Languages of the World: This is an archive of over 1,000 human languages assembled in the year 02002 C.E. Magnify 1,000 times to find over 15,000 pages of language documentation.” The text begins at eye-readable scale and spirals down to nano-scale. This tapered ring of languages is intended to maximize the number of people that will be able to read something immediately upon picking up the Disk, as well as implying the directions for using it—‘get a magnifier and there is more.’

Rosetta Top

Rosetta Top

On the reverse side of the disk from the globe graphic are 15,000 microetched pages of language documentation. Since each page is a physical rather than digital image, there is no platform or format dependency. Reading the Disk requires only optical magnification. Each page is .019 inches, or half a millimeter, across. This is about equal in width to 5 human hairs, and can be read with a 500X microscope (individual pages are clearly visible with 100X magnification).

The idea is to replicate this disk as many times as possible and distribute it to as many places as possible to ensure survival of knowledge if modern civilization were to be destroyed. You can put yourself on the waiting list to own one of these disks, for the relatively low price of $25,000.

I like to imagine if the civilization of today were to disapear and the people of the future were to grab hold of this disk, they would be able to learn how the world was at this time. I wonder, though, if the prevalence of information makes such a disk necessary. It’s hard for me to imagine that all of the data in the plethora of different formats (print, digital, textile, etc) will be destroyed. I do, however, wonder how digital media (text, image, video, etc) will be available in the future. We can already see the trouble of getting data from older media formats like laser disk and 5-inch floppy disks. If the data is properly brought forward with technology (ie. nowadays the best storage media is hard drives, particularly external drives attachable via USB or FireWire) it should always be accessible.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • PDF
  • RSS

Related Posts: