In a recent What If...?, XKCD's Randall Munroe tackles the important question: "If you had a printed version of the whole of (say, the English) Wikipedia, how many printers would you need in order to keep up with the changes made to the live version?" Turns out the answer is SIX, but it would cost $500,000 a month for the ink, and you'd need 300m^3 a month to store the paper.
The English Wikipedia currently receives about 125,000 to 150,000 edits each day, or 90-100 per minute.
We could try to define a way to measure the "word count" of the average edit, but that's hard bordering on impossible. Fortunately, we don't need to—we can just estimate that each change is going to require us to reprint a page somewhere. Many edits will actually change multiple pages—but many other edits are reverts, which would let us put back pages we've already printed. One page per edit seems like a reasonable middle ground.
For a mix of photos, tables, and text typical of Wikipedia, a good inkjet printer might put out 15 pages per minute. That means you'd only need about six printers running at any given time to keep pace with the edits.
The paper would stack up quickly. Using Rob Matthews' book as a starting point, I did my own back-of-the-envelope estimate for the size of the current English Wikipedia. Based on the average length of featured articles vs. all articles, I came up with an estimate of 300 cubic meters for a printout of the whole thing.
By comparison, if you were trying to keep up with the edits, you'd print out 300 cubic meters every month.
Updating a Printed Wikipedia
Frontier is the bottom-rung of the top-tier of US ISPs, serving customers in 29 states. Despite enjoying monopoly control over its customers' online lives, and despite massive government handouts and a lackadaisical approach to maintenance, and despite out-and-out theft from customers, the company is filing for bankruptcy, having accumulated $16.3b in debt through mismanagement.
Bruce Schneier's Foreign Policy essay in 5G security argues that we're unduly focused on the possibility of Chinese manufacturers inserting backdoors or killswitches in 5G equipment, and not focused enough on intrinsic weakness in a badly defined, badly developed standard wherein "near-term corporate profits prevailed against broader social good."
Long before 4chan and other anything-goes forums existed, every major online community had a similar community: the Well had its "weird" forum, Usenet had alt.syntax.tactical (among others), and Something Awful had the "Fuck You and Die" forum, where people were funny, mean, obscene, and gross, sometimes all at once.
Whether you’re looking to create perfect portraits or amazing artwork, if your medium is digital, you know you absolutely must have Photoshop to do your best making. So if you’ve been putting off really mastering the various techniques, tools, and styles it offers for your craft, now is a great time to make it happen. […]
There are few things more satisfying than the clickety-clack of an old keyboard. So old, in fact, that it’s really more of a typewriter sound and feel than that of a keyboard. But if you want to enjoy the benefits of both, check out this Rymek Retro Bluetooth 3.0 Mechanical Keyboard. Bringing you an impressive […]
There are plenty of productive ways to spend time while stuck indoors. While it’s undoubtedly fun to binge all 15 seasons of Supernatural or sink days of playtime into an Overwatch campaign, learning something new is definitely a more meaningful and long-term beneficial use of open hours. And if you’re going to invest time in […]