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From Tornadoes to Black Holes: How to Survive an Information Catastrophe

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Black holes are regions of space with gravity so strong that nothing can escape from them, not even light. This isn't science fiction - there's even a gigantic black hole at the center of our galaxy. It's hard to imagine a more effective way to irrevocably erase and destroy a computer's hard drive than to drop it into a nice big black hole. But is the information on that drive really gone forever? Paradoxically, there's a good chance that not only does the information come back, it comes back in the blink of an eye. This surprise return of the information is based on the same principles that might someday make reliable quantum computers a reality. In fact, engineers are already exploiting these principles to help distribute software and stream video over the internet. And that's where the tornadoes come in...