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Re: [httpRange-14] What is an Information Resource?

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 07:06:46 -0500
To: Xiaoshu Wang <wangxiao@musc.edu>
Cc: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>, John Black <JohnBlack@kashori.com>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com, Mikael Nilsson <mikael@nilsson.name>, "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@miscoranda.com>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <20080108120646.GC27797@mercury.ccil.org>

Xiaoshu Wang scripsit:

> But if cap the size, the implication is that web 
> is closed.  

The Web is indeed closed.  There are roughly 10^79 particles in
the universe, so it can be in at most 2^(10^79) possible states.
After that, you either stop storing data or you figure out a way to
break the conservation laws.  (I am neglecting quantum effects here.)

It's like the notion that there are an infinite number of sentences in
a given language.  For theoretical purposes we may postulate a grammar
that can construct arbitrarily long sentences, but in fact even if you
gabble at 100 words per minute for 150 years, which is beyond the limit
of a human lifetime, you cannot utter a sentence of more than about
10^10 words.

Information is inherently finite because its physical substrate is
inherently finite.

John Cowan  cowan@ccil.org    http://ccil.org/~cowan
Big as a house, much bigger than a house, it looked to [Sam], a grey-clad
moving hill.  Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the hobbit's eyes,
but the Mumak of Harad was indeed a beast of vast bulk, and the like of him
does not walk now in Middle-earth; his kin that live still in latter days are
but memories of his girth and his majesty.  --"Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"
Received on Tuesday, 8 January 2008 12:07:03 UTC

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