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To most, it should come as no shock to learn that compact discs don’t last forever. But some people quoted in this BBC News article seem surprised–even offended–to find that they have outlived some of their CDs. Sure, CDs are far more durable than vinyl records, but they don’t last forever–or even a human lifetime. These discs, like their vinyl predecessors, are “vulnerable to heat, cold, light, dust, fingerprints and scratches,” and so it is only natural that they will deteriorate over time. To those who still put their faith in the longevity of CDs, losing the only copy of a thesis or of family photos to a damaged CD could be an unpleasant reminder that, as Robert Frost wrote, “nothing gold can stay.”

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