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I Weigh More Than the Internet

In case you’re like me, you’ve never thought about the internet in terms of mass. Before I watched this video, I guesstimated the nets would have to be at least a heavyweight. I’d like to think cyberspace would be able to pick me up and carry me around.

Turns out the internet is the weight of a small aphrodisiac. Or perhaps three. You can check their math yourself.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll dip my internet in chocolate.

(via a friend of a friend on Facebook I can’t remember now. Apologies.)

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13 comments

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  • Quantum physics gives us the concept that nothing exists until it is measures (observed) thus causing waveform collapse. So the internet doesn’t exist when no one is looking at it.

    Also, it’s not a truck.

  • @Remster: But the internet can exist without us acknowledging its existence. Nothing on the internet goes away just because we stop reading/watching it. Just look at all those old Livejournals. Ultimately, if humanity ceased to exist tomorrow, the internet would still be there. It would just stop growing. In many ways, the internet is like a book. Just because you stop reading it doesn’t mean it isn’t still there.

    What the internet can’t exist without are all those computers that the information is stored on. They have a weight, and, if something happened to them, then the information would go away as well (I’m over-simplifying here. I know that, with backups and cloud computing and whatnot, it would be next to impossible to “destroy the internet” in one swoop, but humour me). This isn’t a “ghost in the machine/do souls exist?”-type issue. If all the computers were destroyed, the internet would cease to be, full stop.

    I should say that I know this isn’t what they’re measuring in the video. They’re just measuring the pure information, and the result is pretty cool. However, I think that you can’t really divorce the information that composes the internet from its container, which also has a weight. Of course, I’m probably over-thinking the whole thing, but isn’t that what us nerds do?

    Also, the internet could exist without the cats in all of those videos, but would you really want to live in that world? I know I wouldn’t.

  • Horray for answers to questions I didn’t know I wanted to ask!

    @Matt: Well if you’re going to include the weight of the machines then you might as well add the weight of our eyes, ears, and brains because the internet couldn’t exist without our acknowledging its existence. And when you think about it, the internet couldn’t exist without those cats in the videos physically existing at the time of recording, or the time spent by an author to rant about Justin Bieber’s hair going slightly more left than usual at his last show, or the time it took me to see all of the above. Those are all measurable as well and should be included.

    But they’re not because they’re only measuring the actual content and the space that content alone takes, not the housing that holds it.

    Not to make this into Do Souls Exist/Ghost in the machine style debate.

  • Interesting, but if you’re going to estimate the weight of the Internet, then it seems to me that you should also include the weight of all the machines that the Internet needs to exist. That includes all those millions of super-heavy servers he mentions. The weight of the pure information may be miniscule (mind-blowingly so), but it doesn’t just float out there in the ether all on it’s lonesome.

  • Of course the internet doesn’t weigh anything. It’s just a little black box with a red light on it. And, it’s wireless.;p

    Also, don’t type the word Google into Google. You will break the internet.

  • In the most recent Nerdist podcast, Neil DeGrasse Tyson mentioned that it is impossible to measure the size of an electron. If it is also impossible to measure the mass, wouldn’t that render this whole concept invalid?