Alert: Manage Data Now to Avoid the Worldwide Electron Shortage

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Organizations around the world are archiving data at a geometrically-increasing rate. Leading scientists worldwide estimate that this will lead to a world-wide electron shortage by 2050. With the cost of conversion higher than ever, it is time to develop more effective data management strategies in order to preserve electrons and avoid expected economic sanctions in the future.

Scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in partnership with the M.I.T. College of Earth Sciences, have recently published in article in the journal Science, describing an expected shortage of electrons by the middle of the twenty-first century. Through their research, they have concluded that the information storage lies at the heart of the impending crisis.

Electron shortage graph The cause of the electron shortfall is the consumption of electrons in data processing equipment, most notably in high-density disk drives. Organizations are storing data at a rate of over 100,000GB per day, and by 2010 this is expected to exceed 1,000,000GB or more per day.

“This will surpass the Greenhouse Gases Crisis by 2012,” states Steve Smith, spokesperson for Greenpeace, which is budgeting over one million dollars in 2008 for the purchase of dozens of billboard trucks. “We will be mobilizing resources to promote awareness to the general public on the nature of the problem and which organizations are the biggest contributors.” The billboard trucks’ objective is to arouse grass-roots awareness, promote boycotting, and embarrass those organizations that are wasting the most resources.

Other teams of scientists are approaching the problem from another perspective, through the development of positron disk drives. “This approach is designed to permit the continued upsurge of data storage. Teams of researchers from Stanford University, M.I.T, and IBM are committed to the development of a positron-based storage technology that can be brought to market by the year 2025,” says Ramasamy Chandra, Ph.D., chief scientist at IBM in charge of storage technology research, “we have proven our concepts on paper and in computer models, and hope to working physical models by 2009 and prototype drives by 2010.”

And reportedly, the 2007 G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany will include a working group to prepare agenda items to formally discuss and address the Global Electron Shortage at the 2008 G8 summit. Also, the WTO will take up the issue in a working group at its General Council meetings on July 25-26, 2007.

Standards bodies are getting on board as well. The ANSI, IEEE, and ISO standards organizations are or will shortly be announcing the formation of working standards committees with the objectives of developing data storage standards using positron technology.

More effective data management strategies can also buy time for an organization. If an organization can develop and execute an information management and retention strategy that includes a focus on retention, an organization can decelerate its growth in information storage and stay more eco-friendly from an information storage perspective. Companies are expected to develop competitive advantages in the area of storage management and efficiency, which will also yield a tax advantage as WTO member nations will be expected to more heavily tax those organizations that exceed their electron quotas.

Steve Smith, spokesperson for Greenpeace, sums this up nicely. “We will likely solve the problem using a variety of means, from the development of new storage technologies, more effective storage management strategies, and changes in regulations that permit organizations to ease their data retention burdens.” We shall see.

7 thoughts on “Alert: Manage Data Now to Avoid the Worldwide Electron Shortage

  1. Gary

    Thanks for alerting us, Peter. This could be worse than the anticipated shortage of dihydrogen monoxide due to rising temperatures caused by the greenhouse effect (see I hope the guvmnt will get right on to this.


  2. peterhgregory Post author

    [proxy reply for Pat]

    I generally avoid responding on religious issues such as this in an open
    forum, but I feel I _must_ answer on this important issue. Like many
    other ecological issues, this one is being overstated to an extreme
    extent by the Electron Cartel (EPECK) to control the flow of electrons
    throughout the world and artificially raise prices to increase their own
    personal wealth.

    First, government assays show that there are untapped reserves of
    electrons in the tundras under Alaska. These reserves were formed by
    static electricity built up during the building of the Alaskan Highway,
    and increase dramatically every year by the static discharge caused by
    flow of oil through the Alaskan Pipeline and by resident Alaskans
    sliding in slipper socks across their carpets and touching objects.
    Thus, electrons are, in fact, a renewable resource that should be tapped

    We are being prevented from converting them by large flocks of
    conservation-minded ptarmigans. These fanatics fear that the mining of
    these resources will destroy the native tundra, especially during laying
    season, when the males take advantage of poor, unsuspecting hens,
    leaving them with clutches of 6-10 eggs to mind. The eggs are laid on
    the bare ground for the females to tend, while the males go off to have
    contests to see who will get the best females next year, swilling
    fermented elk milk and competing with one another with a variety of
    gargling, croaking, and screaming noises. Clearly these male ptarmigans
    must be made to uphold their obligations. We recommend a study committee
    to study the feasibility of placing liens on their wages immediately.

    Nevertheless, as ptarmigans are native to many climes and live in alpine
    and arctic tundras throughout the northern hemisphere, the proper thing
    to do is move the ptarmigans to other habitats. Many of our allies,
    including Scotland, Lapland, and Scandahoovia, have flocks of Red Rock
    Ptarmigan already. A subcommittee of our Finance committee proposes
    immediate integration of these habitats. Forced bussing would be one
    proposal. Alternately, we could use one of the methods recommended by
    Google Maps ( See step 9 on the following URL —,+UK&sll=40.69535
    and lead an evacuation across the Bering Strait.

    Please do not be misled by the claims that electrons will be in short
    supply by 2050. This administration assures that proper management, and
    perhaps a transition to individual investment accounts, will let all
    users have a sufficiency of electrons now and into the future.


  3. peterhgregory Post author

    [proxy response from Rob]

    > Like many other ecological issues, this one is
    > being overstated to an extreme extent by the
    > Electron Cartel (EPECK) to control the flow of
    > electrons throughout the world and artificially
    > raise prices to increase their own personal wealth.

    I must say that this is typical “slash and charge” mentality posting. The electron shortage is coming, and no amount of wishful “positive thinking” is going to avoid it: in fact, it is only going to make it worse. Recycling is one (but only one) way to address the issue: all of my messages contain at *least* 70% recycled electrons (and generally at least 85% recycled opinions).

    > First, government assays show that there are untapped
    > reserves of electrons in the tundras under Alaska.

    Yes, it *is* true that there are untapped reserves of electrons in Alaska. However, recommending massive mining operations to recover them is not only damaging to the immediate environment, but betrays a typically cavalier disregard for Canada’s interests in the matter. Not only will we be having tanker trucks full of electrons barrelling down the highway beside our igloos all night, but think of the future ramifications. Massive positive charge building up in Alaska, massive negative charge building up in the contig 48, and who is in between?

    > Forced bussing would be one proposal.

    Ewwww. Kissing ptarmigans?

  4. peterhgregory Post author

    [proxy reply for Thomas]

    Don’t believe it!

    Those electrons are all red herrings!

    The real problem is:


    Protons are zillions of times bigger than electrons, and with one proton being dumped for each of those itty-bitty electrons being used up, we’re filling up with protons so much that we’ll not be able to even move in just a couple of years, and heck, I can hardly see the shed for the proton fog already, and it’s all a vast negatively-charged conspiracy and, wait, I think someone’s at the doo…

  5. RS

    A sucker born every minute!

    Obviously this humorous bit went over Zero’s head.

    Even if he/she hadn’t grasped that it was a joke, he/she could have guessed that by comments made by Gene or Gary; dihydrogen monoxide = water …. HELLO!

    Zero = Humor Impaired


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