Can cosmic rays really affect RAM, or is this just a cute inside joke born from Bastard Operator from Hell? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xxybermancer (talk • contribs) 12:32, 25 August 2006
Intel once built a massive lead safe and placed identical boards inside and outside it to test this theory. They found no statistically significant difference in error rates between the boards, and eventually concluded that the naturally occurring thorium and uranium in the encapsulation materials were responsible for most of the bit errors. See the Jargon File entry for "cosmic rays" here": http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/C/cosmic-rays.html. Dr. Sunglasses 23:16, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
It is true that, in the 1970s (when the Jargon File was originally written), package decay caused most soft errors.
However, Soft_error#Causes_of_soft_errors now says that "Once the electronics industry had determined how to control package contaminants, it became clear that other causes were also at work. James F. Ziegler led a program of work at IBM which culminated in the publication of a number of papers (Ziegler and Lanford, 1979) demonstrating that cosmic rays also could cause soft errors. Indeed, in modern devices, cosmic rays are the predominant cause."