Crystal Memories

skull

I have a fake crystal skull sitting on my desk.  Barely 4″ X 4″ X 6″, it is certainly anatomically correct—if that person were to be 3 feet tall.  I know that my skull is not a real crystal skull however, because at the base of the skull there is an imprint, a logo mark of a local manufacturing company, signifying that it is made of some type of hard acrylic that looks and feels like crystal, but is definitely not crystal.

I bring this up because back in 2002, I had read about the strange story of the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull and had asked a good friend who was working in the semiconductor industry if it was possible to store information within a crystalline structure.  At the time, the only widely known methods of storage was silicon wafers and CDs (digital optical disc) among other things.  Since silicon is an organic rock material, I figured crystal might also work as an alternative method of information storage.  My friend thought it might work but also said we were quite a ways from having a working prototype.

Well, the future is here (so to speak).  A group of scientists at the University of South Hampton is working on a 5D super crystal made from nanostructured glass appropriately named Superman Memory Crystal which could record and retrieve five dimensional digital data by femtosecond laser writing.   They used self-assembled nanostructures to create a type of fused quartz and the data is recorded as a result of the process of creating this fused quartz.  The nano-created quartz can store vast quantities of data (about 360 TB/disc data capacity) and can last for over a million years.  That’s an amazing feat considering the fact that, as of this writing, the largest storage device we have can only hold 3 terrabytes and will probably only last a little more than a decade before degenerating to the point where the data will be lost.  It blows my mind away to think that information recorded using this nanostructured fused quartz can outlast humanity’s collective life span. [1]

My first impression of this was—-whaaaa?  I honestly wasn’t sure what they meant when they said the quartz crystal was 5 dimensions.  Heck, I can barely grasp 3D, but from what I understand, it has something to do with the size and orientation of the data, as well as the garden-variety three dimensional position of these nanostructures.

Which brings me back to crystal skulls.

crystalskull

I had read about how crystal skulls were used as ancient storage devices [2], and my first thought was that it was all a big bunk.  But then my second thought was that it might be a computer of some type.  After all, I use my computer to store all kinds of things, so maybe this is some sort of ancient computer.

Fast-forward ten years and I now realize that is probably not the case either.  These crystal skulls (if they indeed have information contained within their crystaline structures) would be more like modern data storage devices.  After all, I carry my entire extensive music collection on a little stick that has been manufactured into the shape of Hello Kitty, and if someone asked me what it was, I would tell them that it contains all the music that I love to listen to (over a hundred CDs worth of music).  That’s not too fantastic an assertion at this time in history, but if I said that to someone fifty years ago, I would be laughed out of town (or burned at the stake for being a witch).

hellokitty

This Hello Kitty stick is the actual memory device I carry around with me on my keychain because I like to listen to music in my car.  Since my car does not have any internal music device, I have to port it in via my USB stick which I insert into my car’s USB port, and voila, music comes out of the speakers, controlled by my dashboard screen and the fun buttons on my steering wheel.

I don’t think such a device has been created to be able to read data from ancient skulls.  Of course, I could be wrong, and the information may have already been extracted by some hypothetical genius scientists working for some hypothetical shadow government, but assuming that it hasn’t yet been uncovered, there would have to be a way to do so.  To read the information encrypted within them, I am guessing that we would have to figure out how the nanostructures were created and then create a corresponding optical microscope and a polariser which could decrypt the information.

It would be cool to find out what has been stored all this time in those skulls.  I just hope it’s not somebody’s ancient dusty music collection that they listen to while jet-setting around the universe.

1.  5D ‘Superman memory’ crystal could lead to unlimited lifetime data storage

2.  The Mitchell-Hedges Skull

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2 thoughts on “Crystal Memories

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