Posts Tagged ‘science’

Anyone who has used computers or any other device that stores data has run into the problem of disc failure that leads to lose of data.  It is the reason we make – or should – backups in case the main storage goes down.  You just have to hope that the backup also doesn’t fail.

Over at the Southampton University in the UK they are working on a system that may make it a thing of the past.  Utilising lasers and quartz crystal, they have developed a means of storing up to 360 terrabytes on a small disc for a very long time – 13.8 billion years by their estimates.  Not exactly a short amount of time.

It is not yet available for commercial use but it will certainly come in handy if and when it does.

 

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Here come the Clones

Posted: February 4, 2009 in General
Tags: , ,

Stumbled upon this article recently, purporting to tell of the first ever extinct speices being cloned.  Now, before you get all excited about bringing back mammoths and dinosaurs and what not, it is important to note that the animal in question, a Pyrenean Ibex, only went extinct in 2000 and is a subspeices of the Spanish Ibex, which gives lots of advantage in the process.  Even so, the new born animal had a lung defect and didn’t live long.

For myself, if we could bring back one animal, it would be the Diprotodon, a member of the extinct Australian Megafauna.  The megafauna were a fascinating collection of extra large animals that died out around 40-50,000 years ago, the exact cause still a matter of debate.  Some believe they were hunted to extinction by Australian Aborigines, others that they died out due to climate change, either natural or as a result of the use of fire by the Aborigines to manage the environment.

Some of the animals in question were scary big, and dangerous.  These include Procoptodon goliah (Giant Short-Faced Kangaroo), a kangaroo up to 3 metres (10 feet) tall and weighing 232 KG (507 pounds), Zaglossus hacketti, an echidna the size of a sheep, Dromornis stirtoni (Stirton’s Thunder Bird), a 3 metre, 500 KG flightless bird that was likely carnivorous and the slightly smaller Bullockornis paleni, also known as the Demon Duck of Doom.

My favourite is Diprotodon optatum, the largest marsupial ever known to live.  Three metres long, two metres heigh and weighing in at over two thousand seven hundred kilos, it was a wombat the size of a hippopotamus.  We are talking big here, very big.

diprotodon

One of the things I am planning on doing is using some of these animals in my writing, mainly in the primal tales setting.  It fits in well, having these big, dangerous looking animals running around the place, giant carnivorous birds trying to eat people, massive wombats waddling around.