Fun_People Archive
7 Jun
Meet the FOAL

Date: Mon,  7 Jun 93 17:13:11 PDT
To: Fun_People
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
  interesting relationships:

	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:

foal			9223372036854775807

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
        * 2.971592e+00
        / 3.365199e-01

Oops!  Guess not; that's almost three times the speed of light.

[=] © 1993 Peter Langston []