7 Jun

Meet the FOAL

Date: Mon, 7 Jun 93 17:13:11 PDT To: Fun_People Subject: Meet the FOAL With the advent of 64-bit machines there are some new numbers to get acquainted with. For example, the new LAST(INTEGER) is 9223372036854775807 (2 ^ 63 - 1) nine quintillion, two hundred twenty three quadrillion, three hundred seventy two trillion, thirty six billion, eight hundred fifty four million, seven hundred seventy five thousand, eight hundred and seven Its name is a bit awkward to utter, so for the rest of this discussion let's adopt the following shorter name: [ This essay originally suggested the use of the term "mo" as the name for 2^63 - 1. Unfortunately, "mo" already has a few closely related meanings (e.g. "Wait half a mo, willya?" or "Mo' Park sausages, Ma!" or even "You goddam mo'fo'!") and is awfully close to mole (6.022169 x 10^23) and is a common abbreviation for month; so I'm proposing three alternatives: gob This one is "nice" and already has a related common meaning. shitload This gets rid of the "nice" part. FOAL This solves both problems (not nice & no related meaning) So I've used "FOAL" throughout... BTW, this essay came to me with all its forwards stripped so I don't know to whom I should apologize for making this change - if I could I would. -psl ] FOAL (\'fo_l\), n., pl. -s [1980's American slang, computer sci. jargon from "Fuck Of A Lot"] 1. a cardinal number, two raised to the sixty third power minus one. 2. a set of this many persons or things: a foal of men. 3. a symbol for this number, as FOAL. 4. a very great number or amount. (slang) To help internalize how big a foal really is, here's a few interesting relationships: FOAL millimeters 0.975 light-years FOAL square inches 0.95 x surface area of Neptune FOAL square yards 1.27 x surface area of the sun FOAL cubic feet 1.05 x volume of Ceres FOAL cubic yards 5.18 x volume of water on Earth FOAL cubic miles 27.2 x volume of the sun FOAL seconds 20 x age of the universe FOAL nanoseconds 292 years (1970 - 2262) FOAL vibrations 1.003 billion seconds of cesium 133 (31.8 years) FOAL pounds 0.8 x weight of Earth's atm. FOAL M&M's 9 trillion tons FOAL dollars public debt in 2096 FOAL electrons 1.48 coulombs (amp seconds) FOAL molecules of H2 .031 milligrams FOAL atoms of C12 .181 milligrams FOAL hertz .325 angstrom wavelength If every person on the Earth (say, 5 billion) ate an M&M every 1.25 seconds for an entire 70-year life (without breaks for sleeping or excreting), 1 foal of M&Ms would be consumed. The above is based on data found in the 1987 Information Please Almanac and an empirical sample of one 1 lb. bag of M&M's. [ Finally, Unix users can add the following line: foal 9223372036854775807 to the file "/usr/lib/units" and then use the units program (/usr/bin/units) to perform other useful calculations. For instance, if you're wondering whether it's theoretically possible to build a spaceship that can travel foal feet in a century you might try this... pud -=9=- units 465 units; 3574 bytes you have: foal ft / century you want: c * 2.971592e+00 / 3.365199e-01 Oops! Guess not; that's almost three times the speed of light. -psl]

© 1993 Peter Langston