Now, this is very funny, but I think that over pigeon-traversable distances in which latency isn't an issue, the pigeon will always win. A random web-page promises that a carrier pigeon can bear loads of up to 1.7 oz or about 48.2g. My postal scale says that my 64GB SD card weighs 2.05g. Which means that a pigeon could carry 23 64GB SD cards, or 1.472 terabytes. In the Telkom race, the pigeon traversed 40km in 2 hours.
I think that even the best commercial ISP in the world would be hard-pressed to deliver 736GB/h between two customer DSL end-points. Likewise, I think that even the greatest pigeon on the world would be hard-pressed to deliver even one bit of information from Cape Town to New York.
A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.SA pigeon 'faster than broadband' (via Engadget)
Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.
Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds.
The idea for the race came when a member of staff at Unlimited IT complained about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.
He said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.
"We renown ourselves on being innovative, so we decided to test that statement," Unlimited's Kevin Rolfe told the Beeld newspaper.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.