Mr. J.H. shared this article, and I just have to comment about it; it's one of those stories that almost begs for "high octane speculation." Recall several months ago that there were stories about archiving humanity's great libraries and texts in digital form on the Moon. I blogged about that story at the time, and this story certainly seems to be of a piece with that one. Indeed, I found this story so intriguing that I had difficulty trying to figure out what "category" to put it in: "Cosmic War"? "Call it Conspiracy?" "You Tell Me?" I don't know, so I'll let the reader decide:
According to the article, which, you'll note, is very "low key," very bland, very matter of fact, about what is going on:
t a ceremony held in Vatican City today, ESA and the Vatican Apostolic Library have agreed to continue their years-long cooperation on the preservation, management and exploitation of archived information.
The declaration follows a five-year activity by the Vatican Library to digitise its ancient collection using the ‘FITS’ flexible image transport system format, to ensure that future generations will have access to the books. ESA and NASA developed FITS in the 1970s, stemming from radio astronomy.
“Our collaboration is based on the common intention by our two institutions to promote the long-term preservation of images in electronic format,” said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library.
He noted how the recent seismic events in Italy has further highlighted the importance of the preservation of information, drawing attention the need to affront changes in the technology of information storage.
What grabbed my attention here was, of course, the last statement, for it implies that this arrangement between the Vatican Library (please note, the Vatican Library and Archives are not quite the same thing, but we'll get back to that) and the European Space Agency is for the express purpose of preserving the Vatican's literally two millennia of manuscripts, books, and papers in the face of some catastrophic event.
Indeed, only a couple of weeks ago I did my News and Views on the possibility that Italy was emerging as the point power, so to speak, within the European Union for a revitalization of European and Russian cooperation. Italy also has constitutional referenda looming, and then it was hit, perhaps "too conveniently," by an earthquake which leveled several old churches and buildings. Now I'm not suggesting, for a moment, that earthquakes in Italy are all that unusual; they aren't, but this one appeared to have been rather shallower in its depth, and given the political context, and the possible existence of tectonic or earthquake weapons, the context does make one wonder. Even the Russian foreign ministry recently warned the West about "tectonic consequences" in geopolitics if Washington continued on its present course. It was, to say the least, an unusual choice of words, especially since almost two decades ago, the then US Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton, William Cohen, warned of such weapons falling into the wrong hands.
But I digress.
What s intriguing here, as a high octane speculation, as the world geopolitical situation continues to deteriorate, and as western culture and civilization appears to be on Mr. Global's "target list," is that the Vatican has teamed up with the European Space Agency at all. We're told, of course, that this is in an effort to digitize the Vatican Library because the ESA has a technology enabling them to capture images of documents and to "flatten" the rumpled pages of old manuscripts without distortion.
Uh huh. Sure. That really does make sense...
...except I suspect that there are any number of corporations or agencies that have a similar technology. Even my own photo software has such a "flattening" capability. So why the Euroepan Space Agency?
Well, I strong suspect, and strongly suspect that you strongly suspect, that the reason is rather obvious: a space-based backup is literally being prepared, and that this is not so much about digitizing the Vatican's enormous treasure of information, but rather about backing up that information "off site," as it were, and in space, against the threat of catastrophe. And if they're doing it with the library, even more important to such a venture would be to do it to the archives as well.
And that should give everyone pause...
See you on the flip side...