Hard Drives, the Tube and Paper Clips
By Brett Raynes • 02 Dec 2008
I am thinking of doing an experiment inspired by a customer of ours. Every day she travelled home from work on the tube with a brace of Hard Drives removed from the company servers to take and store at home. She used to whine about the sheer weight of them, but that was about it.
That was until a student on the tube one day dropped their school bag and out fell their pencil case and its contents.
To people’s amazement, scattered all over the Piccadilly Line tube’s floor were hundreds of little paper-clips. All stood to attention like obedient soldiers.
The reason? A magnetic field created by god knows how much electricity running underneath the train lines. But that’s not the point of the story. Resting on the floor of the train, surrounded by the paper clips all caught in the grasp of this magnetic field was our ‘future’ customer’s bag. Everyday the hard drives where being exposed to thousands of volts of electricity without realizing it.
The next bit is conjecture. One day, when the hard drives were needed to carry out a test restore did they work? Of course not. Was the data stored on them affected by the tube line – who knows? But I will be taking a pack of paper clips with me next time I use the tube.
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