Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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Snopescoping an urban legend, and some nano news

Could someone help me confirm or disconfirm an urban legend? I haven't found anything either way on or anything conclusive through Google.

The legend asserts that transferring 1 megabyte of data across the Internet requires the energy generated through combustion of x pounds of coal, on average. One of my graduate students, Raju Mantena, quoted a friend of his as saying that x was 1. I was very skeptical when he told me this in 2001. This article reports x as 0.5 (without any reference).

I'm tempted to run a "back of the envelope" calculation a la Bentley's Programming Pearls, but it isn't immediately clear where to begin.

Do you realize, though, that if even the second legend (1Mb == 2 pounds of coal) is true, a mere half-season of Lost, Smallville, or Enterprise would cost nearly a metric ton of coal to download at HDTV resolution using BitTorrent? The 13-episode run of Firefly (350Mb per 1-hour episode * 13 episodes == 4550Mb) would cost well in excess of a metric ton. That's a FastTrack (/me 50p to the pun fund) to the Special Hell!

The "hundreds if not thousands of dollars" warning that USENET newsreaders give would seem to hit home, especially for binaries newsgroups, eh, crypthanatopsis and darana?

Pre-nano news: I levied my standing army of KDD this afternoon and headed over to Talat Rahman's lab to talk about the newly-funded project we have together. Joining us were my new Ph.D. students Yonghua and Waleed, and the undergrads: Andrew, zengeneral, and istari_ala. More on the project in a moment.

On the way in, I popped in and said hi to Chii-Dong Lin. During the meeting, Brett DePaola came up and said hello, and on the way out, I ran into Bob Burckel. Small world! I guess Cardwell is just cooler.

Post-nano news: remember last year's Ig Nobel awards with the chanting of "nano, nano"? (If you look on my main LJ page, the "Nano" and "Giga" tronkie friends groups are an homage to this.) Well, Jon the Forwarder, Defensor Anguillae of teunc, posted this link to the 2004 awards a couple of weeks ago - I just thought I'd pass it along. Hilarious stuff! When they have finished a small technical procedure1, I will post a link.

:nirg: I think the Atkins Diet opera has got to give Atom and Eve a run for its money. Though a love story about a Bose-Einstein Condensate is way funny, too.

1 Have I mentioned how nice it is to have "small technical procedure" not denote the imminent destruction of the universe?


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