Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yotta Yotta Yotta

     A yotta of anything is a lotta of anything.  A septillion -- a trillion trillion.  Ten to the 24th power -- 10e24.  More commonly:  1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.

     Scientists say that the mass of the earth is about 6 yotta kilograms, which is roughly equivalent to 13 yotta pounds.  The number of luminous stars in the Universe is estimated to be on the order of a yotta, give or take.

     It occurs to me that if the Book of Genesis were taken literally, then Abraham's descendants -- said by the Lord to be innumerable as the stars, or as the sands of the seashore -- might be expected, at some time, to be about a yotta.  Personally, I'm good with that -- since that would suggest that Father Abraham still has a long way to go, and his kids still have a yotta-lotta spreading out to do.  Lots of room out there for a whole yotta people.

     But let us set aside heavenly speculations for more mundane considerations.

     On a much smaller scale, thinking of nano-particles, nano-seconds, and computer miniaturization, a yotta-byte is still a lotta bytes.

     Two years ago (in March 2012), Robert Tilford, writing at the Examiner website, reported that the new NSA world-spying facility in Utah (to have been completed in 2013 -- some problems have been reported) was anticipating a processing power of about a yottabyte.  I have not been able to determine the time-frame -- are they talking about yotta-byte per second (unlikely)?  Or a yotta-byte per year (more likely)?

     Let's assume the slower rate of a yotta-byte per year (10e24 bytes per year).  There are about 32 million seconds per year (32x10e6), so that would suggest a processing rate of about 3x10e16 bytes per second.

     Given that kind of surveillance power, how would The Powers That Be parcel out that scrutiny in an equitable way?  If we generously supposed that 3 billion human beings (3x10e9) were connected to cyberspace every second of every day, that would still allow 10 million bytes per second of processing power devoted to each cyber-connected human being -- continuously,  all the time.     

     That surveillance power is there for me, for you, for every member of your family, for commerce, for law enforcement, for the total-security state, for everybody.

     It occurs to me that Big Brother / Big Sister have very big eyes and ears.  That's a yotta very close supervision being planned.  Could we characterize this as cyber-slavery, anyone?

     Or is it just the modern version of government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."  Oh, yes.  It's all for us.


  1. Recently, a tea-party fellow assured me that there was nothing to worry about with government surveillance, NSA, etc., because there's no way they could possibly track the movements of every individual. Store meta-data, sure. Keep specific tabs on people, no.

    That's a "yotta" wishful thinking.

  2. Right. And even if your friend were correct, that wouldn't keep NSA from tracking
    (a) every unwelcome blogger on the internet (that would be you and me)
    (b) every outspoken tea-party member (that would be your friend)

  3. Absolutely. By the way,

    just read "Regime Speak."