I crave knowledge in deepspace
January 21, 2017 8:05 AM   Subscribe

I have always loved the question "If you were stuck on a Desert Island what 10 books would you like to have with you?". So I wanted to get a list of human knowledge survival pack with modern equipment, hence the title of my question. "What offline human knowledge software/data would be essential to have on an offline modern computer if you were stuck on a deepspace multi decade, or even lifetime, journey?"

Some rules for those that work better with parameters:
Must fit on a modern high end computer, that you could purchase at a store
Storage constraints are at the most 10TB of hard drive space
Backup would be in the form of redundant data so you could "Factory Reset" your knowledge base

The Data for the collection should be:
1) In a collected form or packaged so you can access and localize it easily. (So not you need these 300 games you download one at a time)
2) The Data should be publicly and freely available
3) The Data should be accessible and not a backup so it must be readable or have software to allow offline use.
4) The Provider of the data facilitates the acquiring of the repository (So no scrapers that kill a site)

Basically I want the gaining of this data to be ethical for whatever that means.

I have already thought of a couple of essentials to give you an example of what I am trying to find but these are pretty obvious examples I really want to see what other things you could "Offline" from the internet if you had no connection for Years/Decades

Download Wikipedia

As a side note my spouse is calling this the doomsday hard drive which I thought was funny.
posted by mrgroweler to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Not a direct answer to your question but when I was working with Open Library we were having discussions about this with Outernet who aspires to do something like this, toss it all on to a satellite. I don't know what ever happened with them, we offered to share our book metadata with them via the API.
posted by jessamyn at 8:17 AM on January 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm reminded of CD3WD. It was more about trying to gather the knowledge for third world countries in terms of technology, but that seems like a similar aim to yours. The site is down, but there are mirrors and torrents.
posted by zabuni at 8:53 AM on January 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

Although you mention deep space and a desert island, of practical use when you don't have an internet connection under more normal circumstances is a gps/mapping program.. Nokia Here is free and you can download world maps for use offline.
Youtube is actually the greatest free store of knowledge right now, but you would have to choose carefully to stay under your data cap. Maybe start with Khan Academy and MIT courses, then add in DIY/science if possible.
Military manuals are not copyrighted, there are huge collections available on the web. They cover many non-weapons subjects, my favorites are "Basic contruction techniques for small buildings simply explained" by the bureau of Naval Personnel, and "Hull mantainance tech III and II". These two together cover woodworking, carpentry, mansonry, welding, forging, sheetmetal, piping, etc.
posted by 445supermag at 9:25 AM on January 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

Deep space, technical manuals for the machine you are surviving in, then reliable history of Earth, Zoology, Geology, water resource management, medicine, primitive tool making, wildlife and wild food harvesting. If you are planning to sit out a catastrophe in space, who knows?
posted by Oyéah at 10:08 AM on January 21, 2017

Basically a walk through the specialized libraries of a large engineering oriented library and scan every technical manual, table of constants/formulas/data, text books on every topic. Especially history of science, there's a lot of solutions that are not used today, but a few decades out an older imperfect pumping method that could be built with hand tools could save the day if the replicator is on the blink.

Oh and the collected works of Heinlein & Asimov.
posted by sammyo at 10:17 AM on January 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

Are you familiar with the Long Now Foundation's "Manual of Civilization" project?
"The Manual for Civilization is a crowd-curated collection of the 3500 books you would most want to sustain or rebuild civilization. "


posted by neutralmojo at 8:41 AM on January 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

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