Too Much Information?
October 24, 2000 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Too Much Information? Heavy information overload: the world's total yearly production of print, film, optical, and magnetic content would require roughly 1.5 billion gigabytes of storage. This is the equivalent of 250 megabytes per person for each man, woman, and child on earth.
posted by faithnomore (15 comments total)
Wow, that is pretty amazing. I wonder if there was even 1/2 a billion gigs of disk space on earth ten years back when 80 megs was a HUGE hard drive. A little quick math tells me I have 94 gigs of personal hard disk in my house alone, I am the ugly American using more than my share of magnetic media and bandwidth.
posted by thirteen at 12:11 AM on October 25, 2000

posted by lagado at 2:50 AM on October 25, 2000

hp pavillion: 8 gig
athlon box: 12 gig and 2 gig
the compaq: 20 gig and 3 gig
iopener: 1 gig
cdrom blanks (6) : 3 gig
box of floppies in the garage: we'll just call this C

total: 49gig + C

i hope you are properly ashamed of yourself now thirteen.

posted by lescour at 7:05 AM on October 25, 2000

Hey, if we're counting, I want to try...

New Gateway: 13G + 45G
Old Gateway: 1.6G
Toshiba Laptop: 1G
30-Hour TiVo: 30G (I think?)
~100 Blank CDs (if they count): 64G

That's a total of 90G without the CDs, 154G with.

And I was just thinking I needed another hard drive... Hmmm...
posted by daveadams at 7:54 AM on October 25, 2000

I have three 25 gig hard drives on my home computer. It may seem like a lot of space, but I'm already running out. (I keep my entire CD collection on my computer. About 11,000 songs so far.)
posted by waxpancake at 9:08 AM on October 25, 2000

Information overload? I think not.

An example: a quick look at the table from the executive summary would seem to indicate that we could take 10% off that number by just getting rid of camcorders. Hey, everybody, are home videos eating up 10% of your media intake?

We have the technology now that makes it theoretically possible to treat an increasing portion of our overall sensory input as "content" and thus to "store" it. It's not at all clear where the line between this data and genuinely _new_ data falls.
posted by grimmelm at 9:26 AM on October 25, 2000

Caution, thread drift ahead....

Speaking of TiVos, I sold mine on eBay. $200 profit, after figuring in shipping, listing fees, etc. Not bad.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:30 AM on October 25, 2000

Wouldn't a chunk of the 250 MB/person be data that is common with a few other people? I mean we all visit MeFi, but that doesn't mean we all download MeFi to our storage spaces too, not including the cache, which in most new browsers can be purged when you close your borwser. If the overlap is accounted for, I am sure that in the end the personal storage space required for unique data would be less than the figure predicted.
posted by riffola at 9:42 AM on October 25, 2000

Just think how much space could be saved if we could use storage aliasing to eliminate all those duplicates of Who let the dogs out?
posted by dhartung at 11:15 AM on October 25, 2000

MrMoonPie, I wish I didn't love my TiVo so much or I would have sold it, too. eBay is a wonderful thing...
posted by daveadams at 11:23 AM on October 25, 2000

I wonder, though, how much of that is duplicated. I mean, if one considers the amount of duplicate information - say, AP articles - that exist in hundreds, if not thousands, of hard drives, then I think that number should be reduced. And, of course, caches and MP3s.

Can I digitize myself Tron-style yet?

Nader Nader Nader!
posted by solistrato at 11:39 AM on October 25, 2000

Not to push this further off subject, but has anyone tried yanking the drive out of their Tivo yet? Installed it in their bad ol Linux box? Come on cowboys, spill.
posted by thirteen at 11:41 AM on October 25, 2000

Nader Nader Nader!

You know, when I get real old, I want to be put on a topic and just set adrift. Like an eskimo.

Speaking of topic drift, maybe repetitive use could make "nader nader nader" into a mainstream taunting-type quote along the lines of "neener neener neener" or "nanny nanny boo boo". Just make sure you use it particularly in threads where people are wetting their pants arguing the relative merits of Pentiums over Macs.
posted by dcehr at 2:11 PM on October 25, 2000

8.5 GB x 5 drives = 42.5 GB
9 GB x 4 drives = 36 GB
5 GB drive
4 GB drive

total: 87.5 GB in (or attached to) my linux box at home... 128MB RAM... man, once upon a time, that was a lot of storage. Now it's kind of normal... and the fact that it's all hooked up to a 100 MHz Pentium makes people laugh.

pseudoseriously, if we all donated our old 250MB drives to the cause, do you think we could help the data storage problem in the third world? :-)

posted by Mars Saxman at 2:23 PM on October 25, 2000

Damn Mars, that's a lot of disk for one box. My total was spread out over 3 computers and a file server. Are you a fiend for storage, or are you processing huge files? My next drive expansion will be firewire, I like the idea of popping it in a bag and hooking up anywhere. I am currently saving up for a gig of ram, it is my intention to move through Photoshop files like flashpaper burns.
posted by thirteen at 2:40 PM on October 25, 2000

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