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Stars In The Universe

My new iMac has a one terabyte hard drive (1024 gigabytes). When I started doing graphic design in 1995, my state-of-the-art Mac had 500 megabytes of hard-drive space. Everyone was like, "Dawwwg... nobody needs that kind of power, you're crazy, dude!"

That's a difference of about 2000 (but that's not important now).

I hear about petabytes from time to time (1024 terabytes). I may have heard of an exabyte or two, but I thought that was it.

There is something bigger: a zettabyte (1024 exabytes) and a yottabyte (1,048,576 exabytes).

To give you an idea of how much that is (as if that were possible), a yottabyte is 8 bits of information multiplied by a number best described as 1 followed by 24 zeros plus some dust. The approximate number of stars in the universe is 10^20, so we could give each star a nice long name, take a snapshot of it,  and store all that on our 1-yottabyte hard drive.

In "researching" this article, I discovered an astounding fact. The number of possible chess games (played according to the rules) is 10^120. This is enormously greater than the number of atoms in the universe, which has been estimated at around 10^80, give or take five or six.

Here is another quasi-related fact: in French, they don't use the byte because "byte" rhymes with a naughty word (pronounced "beet"). Instead they use octets, which are pronounced octay (even when they're plural).

French tourists laugh whenever they see snacks labeled "mini-bites" or "mega-bites" for that reason.
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