# Fun_People Archive 18 OctByte size, nativity explained, & metricization

```Date: Wed, 18 Oct 95 10:50:39 -0700
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Byte size, nativity explained, & metricization

Forwarded-by: bostic@bsdi.com (Keith Bostic)

Forwarded-by: kole@hydra.convex.com (John P. Kole)
From: masson@convex.convex.com (Bob Masson)
From: the _Boulder Daily Camera_, announcing Storage Tek's new Kodiak
disk storage system:

The product is estimated to have a capacity of more than
one terabyte.  A terabyte of data, for example, if
stretched into a straight line, would circle the Earth
56 times and cover about 1.4 million miles."

I figure, then, that a byte must be on the order of .0887 inches (.225mm).
I wonder if they are variable length depending upon the number of 1's & 0's?
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Forwarded-by: cate3@netcom.com
Forwarded-by: "Scott A. Rust" <SARUST@gallua.gallaudet.edu>

Why was Jesus born in a stable?
Because Joseph belonged to an HMO.

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Forwarded-by: guy@netapp.com (Guy Harris)

I grew up with ounces and quarts and stuff, but I'm now bilingual.  I'll
use whatever unit is more convenient at the time, which is no doubt
infuriating to purists of either stripe.  To ensure that my eccentricity
was well-established, when I still had my old truck with the speedometer
marked in miles per hour, I would delight in pointing out that I could
convert it to km/h simply by reading the numbers in hexadecimal.  (Try it,
it works!)

What bothers me are the people who never made it all the way to metric, but
got stuck halfway.  I have a photo of a road sign announcing a turnoff 152
meters ahead, and there are still a lot of trucks marked "GVW 4536 kg".
Sometimes I think I'm the only one who heard that chemistry lecture about
significant digits - otherwise why would anyone be obsessed with doing a
conversion that's accurate to the last kilogram, when the original was
10,000 pounds plus or minus 100 or more?  Things are getting better, but
slowly - we still buy a lot of things in 450- (or 454-) gram quantities.

(And I didn't even mention that GVW stands for Gross Vehicle Weight,
while the kilogram is a unit of mass.  A local municipality was marking
their trucks "GVM" for a while, but that was too intelligent to last.
:-(  No wonder nobody can pass physics any more.)