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How Heavy Is the Internet? 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the he's-not-heavy-he's-my-router dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ever wondered how much the internet physically weighs? 498,438,559,990kg, according to CNET. To reach this figure, they added together public data on the weight of every computer, server and connecting cable. To this they added 6,075,000kg of iPhones, and over 6,800,000kg of Blackberries. Finally, they added the weight of 287,524 viruses and 85 billion+ webpages."

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How Heavy Is the Internet?

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  • I just typed something, and made it heavier than that!

  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Friday November 20, 2009 @07:11PM (#30179218)

    "How Heavy Is the Internet?"

    Slightly heavier then the total weight of the worlds useless journalists.

  • the users...

  • 0 lbs, 0 kgs. Duh. The internet doesn't weigh anything.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by MrFancyPants (122224)

      Argh, hit submit too soon. Reference: IT Crowd [youtube.com]

      • But there are no wires or anything...

        It's WIRELESS!!
        **********************
        I LOVE that episode and was gonna post it but figure there had to be at least one person who'd beat me to it. Thanks

    • by timmarhy (659436)
      actually your wrong wrong WRONG. even if you only count the electrons and photons that make up the signals, they all have mass and hence the internet weighs something.
      • by eepok (545733)
        The electrons aren't the internet. The status of the electrons are. The status "here" has no mass/weight... just like the number 1 has no weight.
        • whoa dude... that's heavy
          • by HTH NE1 (675604)

            whoa dude... that's heavy

            Actually, that's massive.

            4.888 petanewtons (PN), now that's heavy.

            • by HTH NE1 (675604)

              Uh, make that 4.888 teranewtons (TN).

              "Gee, that's really heavy, Tennessee."
              "Come along, Chumley. Time to go see Mr. Whoopee."

        • by timmarhy (659436)
          the internet is what carries the signals, without said electrical pulses there is no "here" it's not transmitted magically. they aren't trying to measure the weight of the word "here" that's fucking retarded, they are trying to measure the mass of what provides the ability for you post such inane crap. sure it's a stupid pointless task, but then so was your logic failing post.
    • It doesn't weigh anything, ever. It has its servant do that.
  • by Mr. Bad Example (31092) on Friday November 20, 2009 @07:13PM (#30179252) Homepage

    The internet doesn't weigh anything [youtube.com].

  • idleispants (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davidwr (791652) on Friday November 20, 2009 @07:14PM (#30179270) Homepage Journal

    Why isn't this in idle?

    If it's supposed to be serious, you have to amortize the weight of the equipment over its uses. A desktop that spends half its use playing solitaire, 1/4 of its use surfing the web, and 1/4 of its use spamming the world under viral control only counts for half.

    • by Joren (312641)

      Why isn't this in idle?

      If it's supposed to be serious, you have to amortize the weight of the equipment over its uses. A desktop that spends half its use playing solitaire, 1/4 of its use surfing the web, and 1/4 of its use spamming the world under viral control only counts for half.

      If you're weighing traffic, sure. I figured they were weighing connectivity - an analogous question might be, "how much does your corporate network weigh?" Being part of a network doesn't require actually using it

      Of course, you'd still have to decide whether/how to amortize time spent off the network (e.g. computer is off, phone is outside of data plan area, etc).

    • I'm wondering why the measurement is with the equipment at all. 'The Internet' isn't so much the hardware it's being run on, is it?
      Wouldn't do much good if that hardware wasn't moving bits and bytes around.

      So perhaps the question should be... how much data traffic is there for 'the internet' and, by splitting that up into electrons and photons (presuming wireless signals have no mass), how much does that weigh.

      I wonder if that could actually end up being an appreciable amount if measured over the course of

    • And if it's a wikipedia, digg, slashdot, or other popular server, then you need to multiply.

    • A desktop that spends half its use playing solitaire, 1/4 of its use surfing the web, and 1/4 of its use spamming the world under viral control only counts for half.

      But isn't the weight for the machines holding public data? So your desktop isn't even addable unless it's sharing something.

      Some things that may be considered: what does it take to pack it all up in boxes and carry it to another place in case the Earth/free world is no longer a viable place to host the Internet? A sense of the mining and manufac

  • To add the weight of all the Tubes and Dump Trucks!

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Friday November 20, 2009 @07:16PM (#30179302)
    BOOM! POWZA!
  • I KNOW I couldn't throw that on the back of a truck.

    Seriously though this is the shit /. has grown to despise on idle(why does it still exist?), how did it escape onto real /.?
  • If that kind of weight is spread evenly then we are dangerously close to causing a global implosion. If one hemisphere gets too much technology then we may very well drift out of orbit and crash into another planet. This is what the Mayans were telling us, people.
  • When I saw the headline I was expecting kdawson's name attached. For shame.
  • Something this heavy... must be slow, right? Slow like this slow news day maybe? ... What do you mean, it's constantly getting faster? Are you nuts?

  • I've just removed the watercooling system on my PC so the internet weighs 10KG less now.
    So its exactly 498,438,559,980kg now.

    • Fat PC Guy - I'm on a diet because the Internet weighs too much.

      Fat Mac Guy - I'm eating thirty twinkies a minute because the Internet needs more weight!

      Trim Linux Guy - I think I'm going to puke.

      Malnourished OpenSolaris Guy - When is someone going to drop off some crates of food.

      Outdated Amiga Guy - I remember when we grew up in a hole in the road and our ol' dad used to come and kill us before breakfast.

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        >> Outdated Amiga Guy - I remember when we grew up in a hole in the road and our ol' dad used to come and kill us before breakfast.

        You had a WHOLE hole to yourselves AND had breakfast? I hate snobs.
        Our dad used to wake us up 4 hours before we went to bed just so we could work 28 hour days. Life was hard but we where happy.

    • by toddestan (632714)

      No wonder. I thought I sensed a few less 1's out there.

  • by straponego (521991) on Friday November 20, 2009 @07:23PM (#30179404)
    I need to know how much of the internet is 1, and how much is 0.

    I suppose I could get a start on that by running VMs of the most popular OSs, and examining snapshots of each one, multiplying that by... oh, and do the same with backbone traffic... be a bit of a pain to handle all the embedded stuff, but in principle... well, in principle, the internet could be represented as a single number. I wonder if it's odd or even. I guess it depends on who has the last bit.

    Ooops, time to takes me pills again.
    • I need to know how much of the internet is 1, and how much is 0.

      That's a really good question. I'm betting that it's more nothing than something. But I wonder if the nothing is as big compared to the something as things are to the void.

      We are Atlantis.

    • by rdnetto (955205)

      Let me save you some time:
      it's 50% 1, 50% 0, and 50% i.

  • Yo internet's so fat the only time it sees 90210 is on the scale.
  • No (Score:5, Funny)

    by N7DR (536428) on Friday November 20, 2009 @07:27PM (#30179472) Homepage

    Ever wondered how much the internet physically weighs?

    No.

    And, oddly, even after someone else has asked the question, I still don't.

  • Well, I don't know about you guys but I actually get asked this question quite often. Just the other day I was in a board meeting when my CEO turned to me and whispered in my ear "Do you know how heavy the internet is?" I didn't know the answer and ended up looking like a fool.

    • by dangitman (862676)

      Just the other day I was in a board meeting when my CEO turned to me and whispered in my ear "Do you know how heavy the internet is?"

      He's not the internet, he's my brother.

  • Really exceptional that they managed to measure the weight to 11 significant figures -- 12 if that last zero wasn't from rounding. A tribute to CNET's diligence.
  • Given their methodology, you'd better add the weight of all the colocation facilities. That's a heap of concrete, lead-acid batteries, flywheels, generators, steel supports and cabinets, etc.

  • It is a good thing they didn't try to calculate the amount of power used and how much it adds to global warming.. They may decide to shut it down tomorrow.

  • like the Dogberts and "beatings will continue" buttons and mirrors to see the boss coming up behind you?

    add another 300,000 Kg at least.

  • E = mc^2, hence m = E/c^2. How much energy is there in a running computer compared to one switched off? Convert to mass, multiply by the number of computers on the internet to get... well, yet another meaningless figure, but it might be fun to estimate.

  • Grams is a measure of mass, not weight. Take something to the Moon and it will have far less weight, but the mass will remain constant.
  • The internet gained about 6 billion pounds after the release of Windows Vista, due to all the additional beefier systems needing to be purchased in place of older systems.

    It's far time the Internet went on a diet.

    Oh WTF is with the supposition that Viruses or web pages "weigh" something?

    It's already factored in by the weight of the hard drives of internet connected PCs... actually, that counts free disk space too.

    Technically.. the entire weight of the PC is not all attributable to the Internet.

    Fo

  • The next stupid question:

        How long is the Internet?

        How wide is the internet?

    and then calculate the area of the internet using standard units like football fields, or states of texas.

  • Um, what?
    • by pclminion (145572)

      When a bit pattern is stored on a magnetic medium, there is a certain energy associated with it due to the interactions of neighboring magnetic fields. Two opposed magnetic domains exert a force on each other. This force is caused by the presence of a magnetic field. This magnetic field entails a certain quantity of potential energy. E = mc^2. Thus, a bit pattern in fact has mass due to the intrinsic energy of its magnetic fields.

      The mass is maximum for an alternating pattern of bits, i.e. 101010101.... and

      • by glwtta (532858)
        This magnetic field entails a certain quantity of potential energy. E = mc^2. Thus, a bit pattern in fact has mass due to the intrinsic energy of its magnetic fields.

        An energy potential has weight now? I don't think that's exactly what's meant by mass-energy equivalence.
        • > I don't think that's exactly what's meant by mass-energy equivalence.

          It is exactly what is meant by mass-energy equivalence.

  • *thank you* *thank you* - Don't forget to tip the waitress on the way out!

  • How much does the Earth weigh? At first, you think just weigh up every object in the Earth, but you need to remember it has less weight the deeper it gets into the core, so I'm thinking you'll run into some Calculus there.
    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      'How much does the Earth weigh?'

      Nothing, although you could carry it to Uranus and weigh it there, I guess.

  • by spoonist (32012)
    Can someone please convert this to some useful unit of measure like "Libraries of Congress"?
    • by krray (605395)

      ~27.5 million dump trucks (+/-2%:) worth.
      Which sadly is easily filled with last years equipment...

  • The Internet doesn't weigh anything. [youtube.com] Just ask the Elders of the Internet!

  • by eepok (545733) on Friday November 20, 2009 @08:33PM (#30180232) Homepage
    The internet is a mass of data interconnected by address. Data is not an object, but the status of variables. Data has no more weight than any other abstract concept.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rakishi (759894)

      Data does have mass:
      http://scottkurowski.com/massbit/index.htm [scottkurowski.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by calzones (890942)

        Thank you!!!

        I came to read this posting thinking there would be some great discussion on the weight of information. What's the difference in weight between a full hard drive and an empty hard drive for instance, and what can qualify as empty (since it's possible having a series of alternating 1s and 0s is lighter than pure 0s for instance... I wouldn't know) .. point being, that there is a difference between the average drive containing random or "no" bits encoded on it, and one that does actually contain

    • by V50 (248015)

      The internet is a mass of data interconnected by address. Data is not an object, but the status of variables. Data has no more weight than any other abstract concept.

      WHAT!? I thought the internet was a series of tubes. :-/

    • Well, data = information = entropy. What's the minimum amount of energy required (in theory) to store a single bit of data?
      It's probably not zero. Therefore data does actually have energy, i.e. mass.

      • by eepok (545733)
        Storage has mass. The energy required to make notes in storage to denote data has mass. The data does not have mass. Data is a pattern not an object.
        • Well, that's the question. Is it really so? (This is an interesting quantum-mechanical conundrum, to which I don't know the answer).

  • If it gets much heavier the Earth might sink!!

  • Finally, they added the weight of 287,524 viruses

    When they make a statement like this, when no weight can be assigned to a computer virus, they pretty much completely discredit themselves.

  • That's a very precise figure for something that's just a rough estimate!

    Surely "around 500,000,000 tonnes" is a better way to put it?

  • the weight of the porn it carries.

  • how much is this in vw beetles exactly?
    if that's impossible it's also possible to get it in library of congress units, that might be easier to remember..

  • How heavy is a cloud?

    You've got your answer. /mesnickers

  • This is grossly inaccurate.

    Mathematically speaking, how the holy hell did they get almost 500 billion kg? Those numbers add up to less than 25 billion kg (24,692,195,430 kg, to be exact).

    Conceptually, they both included things they shouldn’t have and omitted things they should have included.

    Devices which connect to the internet and suck information from it should not be included. Getting groceries from the grocer doesn’t make you a grocer yourself. Get rid of the personal computers and mobile de

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