- a microSD card weighs somewhere around 0.4g
- the highest capacity microSD that's easily available is 256GB
- a trebuchet can throw a 90kg projectile over 300m

90kg worth of microSD cards is 225,000 of them

Therefore a trebuchet can throw 57.6PB of data over 300m

This would have the highest throughput of any telecommunications network ever created

@troubleMoney round trip time is not great though, reloading a trebuchet takes time

@codl but you just can't beat the almighty crash of your internet arriving for the day

@troubleMoney The trouble is data reliability and the absence of speedy error correction mechanisms. You'd have to admit a 57.6 PB mass of data would not arrive at its destination with every 256 GB packet intact, let alone in the proper order. (Well, it would arrive there intact and in the proper order at the instant of arrival, but the buffer it's then immediately pressed into is not exactly compatible.)

@arielmt eh, there's enough space, could put it in RAID or something :blobgrin:

@troubleMoney RAIT: Redundant array of independant trebuchets.

RAIP: Redundant array of independent projectiles.

Though I could see that last one .... not going over so well.


@arielmt @troubleMoney I dunno, I think RFC2549, "IP Over Avian Carriers With QoS" would cover it, with a few tweaks.

weapons and stuff 

@troubleMoney this is kinda like the classic thing of doing latency/throughput comparisons between:

a 50 cal machine gun firing bullets filled with microSD cards


a semi full of harddrives.


which was basically a joke until amazon actually started providing a-semi-full-of-harddrives as a service. 😣

@troubleMoney I think your bottleneck would appear in the loading and unloading of the payload

@troubleMoney but wait.

A microSD card occupies a volume of 0.165 mL.

A 45' hi-cube intermodal container has an internal volume of 86020 L. This means that you can fit 521 million microSD cards in one such intermodal container.

This means you can fit 133.5 EB of data on the back of a large truck, substantially more than you could launch with a trebuchet.

@Felthry @troubleMoney But the internet isn't a big truck, it's a series of tubes.

So, a residential water supply line is typically 3/4" or 1" in the US, apparently, with 40-45 PSI being typical. Let's go with 1" - broadband! - and 45 PSI, and I think that comes out to about 40 gallons per minute.

At 15 x 11 x 1 mm (0.165 cc) per card, 40 gallons of SD cards is about 917,676 SD cards.

At 256 GiB per card, you're looking at 29.87 pebibits per second.

@bhtooefr @Felthry @troubleMoney
Hahaha So what's the total bandwidh of a cargo ship like the CSCL Globe capable of transporting 19100 twenty-foot containers (at 39k litres each)?
I suppose you would have to factor in distance from China to England for example, throughtput wouldn't be the same when shipping to Sydney.

@bhtooefr @Felthry @troubleMoney All this makes evident that a new unit is needed to measure bytes per gallon per mile (or bytes per litre per kilometer)

@haitch @bhtooefr @troubleMoney I think the most relevant unit would be byte-meters per second

@Felthry @troubleMoney I'm fascinated by this; I wonder how efficient you could get the write and load process.

@Felthry @troubleMoney This actually is a thing. The AWS snowmobile.

> When your Snowmobile is on site, AWS personnel will work with your team to connect a removable, high-speed network switch from Snowmobile to your local network and you can begin your high-speed data transfer from any number of sources within your data center to the Snowmobile. After your data is loaded, Snowmobile is driven back to AWS where your data is imported into Amazon S3.

@troubleMoney I assume a trebuchet could clear the top of the great firewall of China..?

tbh it's unlikely any network will ever beat a minivan travelling down the highway

Package loss ist no problem at this datarate i hope :D

@troubleMoney Increase it to 115.2PB now that 512GB microSD cards exist, but expensive.

@troubleMoney microsd cards in a pneumatic tube system would be awesome :D

uh, lewd 

@troubleMoney Jizz has an extremely high data density, and moves pretty quickly too, so it might beat your ssd trebuchet

@troubleMoney now this is the quantitative analysis problem I wish they taught in school

@troubleMoney what say you about packet loss in reaching the destination? 🤔🤔

@troubleMoney How many cards fit in a long range truck, or an airplane?

Also, i read somewhere that this technique (trucks and planes, not the trebuchet) is used by Google for replication between data centres.

I still think an ejaculation has more bandwidth then a trebuchet.

@troubleMoney I spent waaaay too long on this site ...

... trying to design a trebuchet that would achieve 300m with a 90kg projectile, so I could find out the flight time, so I could figure out the actual mb/sec bandwidth.

I gave up, but it was a lot of fun, and I learned way more about trebuchet design than I ever thought I wanted to.

@troubleMoney never underestimate the bandwidth of a van full of drives driving down the highway.

@troubleMoney A synchronized grid of pigeons equipped with laser guns and omnidirectional light sensors is easier to control, though

@troubleMoney well, almost. you also have to add the time it takes to write and read all that data from the SD cards, including all the card juggling... -.-

@troubleMoney @uschebit Not calculating it through, but I think a train full of microSD cards would have a higher throughput over 300m, once it did accelerate to full speed. On a trebuchet, we'd have to calculate with ground speed, which is lower than trajectory speed.

Even higher throughput would be bringing a maximum payload of microSD cards into low earth orbit. That would move at around 7km/s.

@anathem @troubleMoney
Sure, there are lots of ways to speed up the old "station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway". But everything involving a trebuchet gets automatic bonus points ;)
I like your low earth orbit suggestion! What's the "maximum payload", though? You can always fit in just one more tiny microSD card, can't you?

@uschebit @troubleMoney Best info I could find on maximum payload to low earth orbit was 140 metric tons using the Saturn V. Size considerations aside, that'd be ~83 PB at 7km/s...

@anathem @uschebit @troubleMoney does it have to be a single launch? because if not, the question becomes "what's the volume of all feasible low Earth orbits?", which is interesting too

In the '50s/'60s there were experiments to do mail-by-rocket. This just brings the experiments bang up to date (with the emphasis on the "bang")!
@troubleMoney @uschebit

And now I'm curious: How did you stumble upon that ol' thread? :D
@troubleMoney @uschebit

Eugen boosted the original post and, while I'd seen it before, I decided to read through some of the comments.
@troubleMoney @uschebit

@troubleMoney you do need two of them to perform a round trip though.

On the other side, you may just have invented two new jobs: "digital trebuchet data recovery engineer" and "digital trebuchet operator". Always good in times of crisis. #startup-world

Can't wait to see YC founding this.

@troubleMoney The fun fact is that we also can build the most-expensive-ever projectile 😁

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