Archive for December, 2009

‘Tis the season (for Google Live Updates)

‘Tis also the season for Christmas carols on the radio (already? Really, guys?) and animated snow on WordPress’s login page. (I swear to God I’ll switch over to Blogger if they pull that next year.)

Google recently unveiled their Updates feature, which is pretty if not spectacularly useful.
An impressive demonstration is the results for Christmas. I think this, better than any Internet-stats page I’ve ever seen, shows the sheer size of the Web, and specifically Twitter. People are tweeting about Christmas as fast as I can read it, and there’s still more than a week to go. (So seriously, cut it out with the carols.)

78 exabytes is a big number (thanks, Discover!), but it doesn’t drive home the personal aspect as well as the buzz of live Twitter updates does. Of course, it’ll be noisier still as the week progresses…

Fun fact: I’m actually Jewish, but Hanukkah doesn’t generate quite the same buzz for some reason.

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December 14, 2009 at 4:48 pm 4 comments

SI units: because 9,192,631,770 is such a round number

Base units.
(Click for full 1024×768 image)

Note: The kilogram is technically defined only from the ridiculous lump of metal in a vault in France. The thing with water is the traditional, imprecise definition, but I included it for the sake of explanation (maybe the second’s definition as a fraction of a day should be in there, but ah well.) I used the American spelling of
“meter”, but the quotes (both from Wikipedia) use the official international spelling.

Interestingly, the main complaint with the SI system seems to be that “amount of substance” isn’t a proper physical quantity.
What’s the matter, guys? I thought you liked arbitrary big numbers?

Hmm. I should note, too, that it’s still a far better system than anything else out there, before the powers-that-be force me to use Furlong/Firkin/Fortnight instead.

I want a t-shirt with “Fuck the International Prototype Kilogram”.

December 6, 2009 at 10:38 pm 4 comments


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