Unfolding plans 184 – Bananas for scale

I stole this from Graham.  He wanted to do a light hearted bit about some of the stuff that we do at the presentations.  We have some big numbers and they are difficult to grasp, unless that is you use bananas as a scale.

‘Bananas for scale’ is a bit of an internet phenomenon that like all phenomena started out in a small way.  Back in 2005 an advert for a television appeared in the blog Rock Dog Designs.  It said ‘I don’t know how big the screen is, we’re moving and I can’t find the tape measurer. But I do have a banana. For scale. Oh wait, my husband says it’s 19inches. Oh well, I’ll leave the banana for interest. Please be interested.’

Sometimes phenomena take a little while to get going.  Perhaps a banana, while not always the same size is something that we all can understand.

Just in case you are wondering a ‘standard’ banana is roughly eighteen centimetres long, five centimetres in diameter, and weighs one hundred and twenty grams. They cost about seventy pence per kilo.

You can get approximately one hundred and eleven bananas in a square metre and so you could get around eight hundred thousand in a football pitch or over two trillion in an area the size of Wales.  Where you would get these bananas from though I have no idea.

We capture over a billion log entries per week. If they were real trees (or banana plants as they don’t grow on trees) they would cover four and a half million square kilometres. That’s eighteen times the area of the United Kingdom, every week.  At the moment, we keep logs for six months. This consumes eighty trillion bytes of storage.  There are eight bits in a byte and eight bites in a banana approximately and so that’s about thirty five times the size of Wales.  I added this last bit.

We handle roughly three hundred and thirty five thousand external email messages every week.  If we posted those messages second class that would cost over £180,000 per week, or £9.4 Million per year in stamps alone. That would buy over thirteen thousand tonnes of bananas.

There are just under ten million corporate web page requests per week, of which we block about two hundred thousand.  That’s the equivalent of ten thousand volumes of a paper encyclopaedia, which would take up five kilometres of shelf space in a library. That’s twenty eight thousand bananas long.

We store over three hundred trillion bytes of data. That’s three hundred followed by twelve zeros.  So, if bytes were bites, then that would be thirty seven trillion bananas.  Put end-to-end, they would stretch seven trillion kilometres. That’s 0.7 lightyears, or half way across the solar system.  We also hold over five hundred trillion bytes of backups. That takes us a third of the way to the nearest star in bananas.

We transmit data at ten billion bits per second. Using our bytes for bites comparison again we get one hundred and fifty six million bananas per second, or nineteen million tonnes of bananas per second.

That’s a hell of a lot of bananas.

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