Accessing a book like a hard drive
If there’s a book that I remember more vividly than most from my childhood it has to be Inherit the Stars by James P. Hogan. The story is kicked off by the discovery of a 50,000 year-old human skeleton in a spacesuit on the moon. The ancient astronaut also had some effects with him, including a book. The scientists use a scanner that can read the book without opening its very brittle, damaged pages, basically peering into and reconstructing the sheets at variable depths. I always thought that was so cool.
Turns out this is no longer a fictional technology. Researchers at the University of Kentucky have figured out how to do it. Imagine being able to scan like this on a bookshelf- or library-wide scale, gulping down petabytes of data without cracking into the books themselves. (Via MGK. Thanks Matt!)