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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Numbers Game
a look of abject horror, yikes
(To the person who already answered this: I just reposted this because I was unclear on two of the options. Please try again- same or different answer, your call.)

Poll #1228466 Quick Quiz

What is this: 4.3×10^38 ?

Last weekend's inflation in Zimbabwe, annualized, in percent
Value of eighteen pounds of saffron, in dollars
The amount of memory a little glitch I caught in Windows 7 would have eaten, on a machine with unlimited memory, in a week, in bytes
The score I just got on an attempt at Turing Beaver 6, well below the calculated record so far
The number of cells in all the ants in the world

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I think Fermi-type estimations would do well here.

But since I'm not very good at that kind, let's consider the options in turn.

It's too high for number one.
Wikipedia says saffron's at $500/kg, so it's too high for number two.
Could be number three or four.
An average cell is about a microgram (10^-6 g)[1]. 10^38 cells would be 10^32 g or 10^29 kg. In comparison, the total mass of the Earth is about 10^24 kg, so... no.

Given that three or four also are the only ones referring to you, I'm thinking even more it's those. But now it gets harder, since the Turing 6 record is 3*10^1730 (AFAIK). So we have to see how plausible the other explanation is: the glitch would consume 10^38 bytes in a week. A week is 86400*7 seconds ~= 6 * 10^5 seconds. To be kind, let's say 10^6 seconds. Then that bug would consume 10^32 bytes per second, which is unlikely.

So door number four it is!

It is not impossible, of course, since it could be a bug triggered by rare events, where the bug then eats up all the memory in a second, but we'll have to deal with probability here. Maybe someone else can pick number three.

By the way, reply to my mail! :)

[1] Amusing fact: I looked this up a few days ago to try to determine whether it'd be possible to build cell-sized antennas. Ask me why, if you wonder.

I voted ant cells. It's the only one that seemed remotely plausable to me.

Ranged from least to most reasonable:

#2. I seem to recall saffron costing about $20/g in the shop, so this is just crazy.
#5. Even avogadro's constant is only 6e23. Since each cell contains quite a lot of atoms, there can't be that many cells.
#3. This implies an average memory leak of 7e32 B/s, which would not fall under the category of "glitch". Of course, it is possible that the growth is exponential, with threads spawning new threads and so on. In any case, that would also require unlimited cpu, just to handle the mallocs. Besides, I've heard that windows 7 runs in 64MB or something like that ;)
#4. I've not heard of that game. Could be possible.
#1. Using compound interest, you would only need to have 20% inflation over 2 days for it to become 4.3e38 over a year. 20% inflation does seem reasonable.

BBC says the official inflation is "only" at 2 million percent (officially). Even if the official figures underestimate by a factor of a hundred, it's still too low.

True, but I interpreted the alternative as "if Zimbabwe had the same rate of inflation over a year as it had over the weekend, the inflation over a year would have been 4.3×10^38 %".

For instance, if inflation is (as BBC says) 20,000 over a year, but inflation only occurs on Sundays, then the inflation on a typical Sunday is 21% (1.2152 = 20,000), and the inflation -annualized- for a Sunday would be 1.21365 = 1e30.

I'm guessing that inflation is significantly higher those days that Mugabe releases a new higher-currency bill than the average day, so high interest rate in a specific weekend is not unlikely.

I realize that I did a mistake in my previous calculation and inflation would have had to be 60% over 2 days for it to become 4.3×10^38 over a year. But I still don't think it sounds crazy.

Reading up on the Turing Beaver, I think you are right tough.

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