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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Filing Crystal  
  Part kiosk, part storage system.  

Besides them, a twelve-foot filing crystal glowed like pin quartz. "Ron," said Rydra. "No, Ron and Calli, too."

The Navigators stepped up, puzzled.

"You know some first navigator who suicided recently that you think we might—"

Rydra shook her head. She passed her hand before the filing crystal. In the concaved screen at the base, words flashed. She stilled her fingers. "Navigator-Two. . . ." She turned her hand. "Navigator-One. . . ." She paused and ran her hand in a different direction.". . . male, male, male, female...

Rydra watched, her hand drifting through centimeters over the crystal's face. The names on the screen flashed back and forth.

Rydra's hand came down on the crystal face, and the name glowed on the screen. “Mollya Twa, Navigator-One." Her coordinate numbers followed.

From Babel-17, by Samuel R. Delany.
Published by Ace Books in 1966
Additional resources -

Regarding the use of gestures to manipulate an electronic device, compare to the hand wave control from Philip K. Dick's 1955 novel Solar Lottery and the gesture controlled devices in Douglas Adam's 1979 novel A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Babel-17
  More Ideas and Technology by Samuel R. Delany
  Tech news articles related to Babel-17
  Tech news articles related to works by Samuel R. Delany

Filing Crystal-related news articles:
  - eyeSight Gesture Control Of Android Phones
  - Gesture-Controlled iPads?
  - FingerIO Active Sonar Smartphone Finger Tracking

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Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
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Sandisk 1 Terabyte SD Memory Card Surfaces

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