Meet the FOAL
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 93 17:13:11 PDT
Subject: Meet the FOAL
With the advent of 64-bit machines there are some new numbers
to get acquainted with. For example, the new LAST(INTEGER) is
(2 ^ 63 - 1)
nine quintillion, two hundred twenty three
quadrillion, three hundred seventy two
trillion, thirty six billion, eight hundred
fifty four million, seven hundred seventy
five thousand, eight hundred and seven
Its name is a bit awkward to utter, so for the rest of this discussion
let's adopt the following shorter name:
This essay originally suggested the use of the term "mo" as the name for
2^63 - 1. Unfortunately, "mo" already has a few closely related meanings (e.g.
"Wait half a mo, willya?" or "Mo' Park sausages, Ma!" or even "You goddam
mo'fo'!") and is awfully close to mole (6.022169 x 10^23) and is a common
abbreviation for month; so I'm proposing three alternatives:
gob This one is "nice" and already has a related common meaning.
shitload This gets rid of the "nice" part.
FOAL This solves both problems (not nice & no related meaning)
So I've used "FOAL" throughout...
BTW, this essay came to me with all its forwards stripped so I don't know
to whom I should apologize for making this change - if I could I would. -psl
(\'fo_l\), n., pl. -s
[1980's American slang, computer sci. jargon from "Fuck Of A Lot"]
1. a cardinal number, two raised to the sixty third power minus one.
2. a set of this many persons or things: a foal of men.
3. a symbol for this number, as FOAL.
4. a very great number or amount. (slang)
To help internalize how big a foal really is, here's a few
FOAL millimeters 0.975 light-years
FOAL square inches 0.95 x surface area of Neptune
FOAL square yards 1.27 x surface area of the sun
FOAL cubic feet 1.05 x volume of Ceres
FOAL cubic yards 5.18 x volume of water on Earth
FOAL cubic miles 27.2 x volume of the sun
FOAL seconds 20 x age of the universe
FOAL nanoseconds 292 years (1970 - 2262)
FOAL vibrations 1.003 billion seconds
of cesium 133 (31.8 years)
FOAL pounds 0.8 x weight of Earth's atm.
FOAL M&M's 9 trillion tons
FOAL dollars public debt in 2096
FOAL electrons 1.48 coulombs (amp seconds)
FOAL molecules of H2 .031 milligrams
FOAL atoms of C12 .181 milligrams
FOAL hertz .325 angstrom wavelength
If every person on the Earth (say, 5 billion) ate an M&M
every 1.25 seconds for an entire 70-year life (without breaks
for sleeping or excreting), 1 foal of M&Ms would be consumed.
The above is based on data found in the 1987 Information Please
Almanac and an empirical sample of one 1 lb. bag of M&M's.
Finally, Unix users can add the following line:
to the file "/usr/lib/units" and then use the units program (/usr/bin/units) to
perform other useful calculations. For instance, if you're wondering whether
it's theoretically possible to build a spaceship that can travel
foal feet in a century you might try this...
pud -=9=- units
465 units; 3574 bytes
you have: foal ft / century
you want: c
Oops! Guess not; that's almost three times the speed of light.
© 1993 Peter Langston