The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is where seeds for a wide range of plants are preserved in case of some pandemic or nuclear apocalypse. It is also home to the Arctic World Archive, the seed vault’s much less sexy cousin
Nat Friedman, the tall, thin, 42-year-old chief executive officer of GitHub Inc., Microsoft’s world-leading code bank, unlocks the container door with a simple door key and, inside, deposits much of the world’s open source software code. Servers and flash drives aren’t durable enough for this purpose, so the data is encoded on what look like old-school movie reels, each weighing a few pounds and stored in a white plastic container about the size of a pizza box. It’s basically microfilm. With the help of a magnifying glass, you — or, say, a band of End Times survivors—can see the data, be it pictures, text, or lines of code. A Norwegian company called Piql AS makes the specialized rolls of super-durable film, coated with iron oxide powder for added Armageddon-resistance. Piql says the material should hold up for 750 years in normal conditions, and perhaps 2,000 years in a cold, dry, low-oxygen cave.
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