Thursday, August 31, 2006

useless fact for today:

the linux kernel if(2.6.17, 39m compressed)

encoded to punchcards would make a stack approx 1242 feet high.

roughly 124 stories tall or 10 ft shorter than the empire state building.


Blogger abraham said...


What was the particular math that you used here?

A standard 80-column punched card can store, you guessed it, 80 characters. In actuality, if you use the holes to represent binary you could actually store 12 bits per column (we have the 1-9 rows plus the 0, 11 and 12 "zones", for 12 total "bit" positions).

Though a single card could actually hold 12 bits * 80 columns = 960 bits / 8 bits/byte = 120 bytes, let's make it simple and assume a single 8-bit byte per column, for a total of 80 8-bit bytes per card.

Assuming a 39MB Linux kernel size, that equals 40,894,464 bytes (we're talking a real megabyte here: 1024 * 1024 = 1,048,576 bytes).

A standard issue box of 2,000 cards measures roughly 14" high. Assuming 80 8-bit bytes per card, that's 160,000 bytes per 14".


40,894,464 bytes / 160,000 bytes/box = 256 boxes X 14"/box = 3,584" / 12" = about 300 feet.

So it's actually about the height of a 30 story building, which shall we say is still a pretty high fucking stack of punched cards.

Now, 256 boxes of cards X 2,000 cards = 512,000 cards. Given my fastest punched card reader does 1,000 cards/minute, it would take 512,000 cards / 1000 cards/minutes = 512 minutes or 8.5 hours to read it in. And that assumes you can reload the cards as fast as they are read. And it also assumes no mis-feeds.


1:56 PM  
Blogger student of gomi said...

I read a wikipedia article pulled some numbers out of my ass and came to a less than perfect assumption. I suspect that i grossly over estimated the thickness due to dameage in my sample. (one crumpled punchcard, now rendered into woodgas and char) your much larger sample size allows for a higher level of confidence.

12:48 AM  

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