Hitachi have developed a quartz glass storage system which is able to hold about 40MB of data per square inch - about the same as a standard CD. By writing the data as binary using lasers to etch dots on four layers of glass, the technique should allow the data to be stored for perhaps hundreds of millions of years - unless, of course, the glass is smashed.
The glass can retain its data after being heated to 1,000°C, and isn’t damaged by radiation, water or most chemicals. The team behind it says adding more layers to increase the relatively small storage space shouldn’t be a problem.
Fortune graphic designer Nicolas Rapp has enhanced some Geotel maps showing the routes of the main fibre optic cables carrying internet traffic around the globe.
To make the light travel enormous distances, thousands of volts of electricity are sent through the cable’s copper sleeve to power repeaters, each the size and roughly the shape of a 600-pound bluefin tuna.Once a cable reaches a coast, it enters a building known as a “landing station” that receives and transmits the flashes of light sent across the water. The fiber-optic lines then connect to key hubs, known as “Internet exchange points,” which, for the most part, follow geography and population.