power in human units

Two power metaphors I hadn’t seen before:

Yesterday, Marty Sereno was telling us about the scarieness of the peak oil crisis (see presentation at foot of his homepage) and explaining oils high energy density, he transformed the energy content of a barrel of oil into human terms.. Scientists had found that Lance Armstrong and competitors output about 200watts during the tour de france (obviously Armstrong’s output is more like 205 watts). A single barrell of oil would last a year at this energy rate.

Today, a press release from the university of Bristol translates the calculation power of of their new computers into human equivalents

At peak performance the multi-million pound high performance computers (HPCs) will carry out over 13 trillion calculations per second. That is equivalent to the entire population of the world working simultaneously on hand-held calculators for about three hours.


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