A Man is Amazed by an Old Thing

Click here and listen to a recording of Ernest Shackleton telling a story from one of his expeditions to the South Pole. The audio was recorded in 1910 on a wax cylinder. Now, you can listen to it in all its digital glory.


Besides amazing the dungarees off me, this recording reminds me of the relative costs and benefits of different media. A wax cylinder can exist in more or less the same condition for 109 years. But it’s confined to one place. A digital recording can travel the world, but will probably be lost, corrupted, or obsolete a decade from now.