Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Thoughts on a megabyte

My friends and I are nerds.

Anyway, yesterday at lunch we were discussing the etymology of megabyte. So here is a brief rundown of the prefixes based on wikipedia and the oxford american dictionary:

kilobyte (thousand) -- via french, from greek khilioi "thousand"
megabyte (million) -- greek, great or large
gigabyte (billion) -- greek, giant
terabyte (trillion) -- greek, monster
petabyte (quadrillion) -- from grk penta, five, analogy of tera and tetra
exabyte (quintillion) -- from grk hexa, six
zettabyte (sextillion) -- from italian setta (seven) from zepto, adapted form of septi, from latin septim (seven)
yottabyte (septillion) -- from italian otto (eight), from octo greek or latin, eight

for how much each is worth, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillion#See_also

First, isn't it interesting how these aren't lined up? (sept = 7, septillian however is a yottabyte, not zettabyte)

Second... the following articles have some interesting comparisons with the bigger numbers:

Third... (and finally)

Some interesting quotes (From Wikipdia)

"The books in the the U.S. Library of Congress contain approximately 20 terabytes of text"

"the total amount of printed material in the world is estimated to be around five exabytes." (exabyte=~million terabytes)

"It was estimated that by the end of 1999, the sum of human knowledge (including audio, video and text) was 12 exabytes. "

"With a hundred trillion cells, each one storing 6Gb of data in its DNA, the body of typical living
animal stores a grand total of 600YB, making it the world's most redundant storage device."

Now, an exabyte isn't even practical yet because its so large, yet an animal here contians 600 million exabytes of data.
More so, an animal functions very effectively, both creating, destroying, and discarding cells every day. It therefor is managing a near incomprehendable quantity of data very efficiently, accurately, and without fiber optics.

This all just amazes me... thats all.

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