Tag Archives: home science experiments

Your Old CD Collection Is Dying

PlaylistHey kids!  Did you know before everyone stole their music from torrent sites, these places called record stores sold things called compact discs?  Old people used to pay money for music and get these little round things that only held like an hour of tunes, and couldn’t be reordered, and you had to buy the whole album, not just the one Beyonce song that you’ve been told to like.

Well, turns out your crazy Uncle Raymond with a house full of CDs is fucked, because they are rotting and will vanish, probably in the near future. Yes, you were told to re-buy everything you owned on CD because your dad’s Buick in-dash tape player kept eating your Nirvana cassettes, and all of the rubber and plastic in your old 8-Tracks disintegrated. Even if you handle your CDs wearing cotton gloves to avoid scratches, turns out the metal inside can “bronze” or the edges of the disc can “rot” and the data will scramble like Ronald Reagan’s brain.  (Too soon?)

The Atlantic has a nice write-up on The Library of Congress and their attempts to quantify this, by destroying old CDs you send in.  They’ll put them in an oven for a day or two, you know,  science.  Since the article ran, the LoC has said to stop sending in CDs, because they have enough. But you can try this experiment at home, by putting your CDs in a microwave oven for an hour.  Try it!  [Editor’s note: DO NOT try this.]