In xkcd's series what if, an area dedicated to answering hypothetical questions with physics, examines "When -- if ever -- will the bandwidth of the Internet surpass that of FedEx?"
If you want to transfer a few hundred gigabytes of data, it's generally faster to FedEx a hard drive than to send the files over the internet. This isn't a new idea -- it's often dubbed SneakerNet -- and it's how Google transfers large amounts of data internally.
But will it always be faster?
Cisco estimates that total internet traffic currently averages 167 terabits per second. FedEx has a fleet of 654 aircraft with a lift capacity of 26.5 million pounds daily. A solid-state laptop drive weighs about 78 grams and can hold up to a terabyte.
That means FedEx is capable of transferring 150 exabytes of data per day, or 14 petabits per second -- almost a hundred times the current throughput of the internet.
|ASCII FLOW: Build Minimalistic ASCII Flowcharts|
|"Bikes are one of the four commodities of the street -- cash, drugs, sex, and bikes. You can virtually exchange one for another."|
|Animated Infographic On How a Car Engine Works|
|Analysis of Steve Jobs Tribute Messages Show People Compared Him to Ford, Not Edison|
|The History of Rickrolling in One Long Skinny Infographic|
|"Frozen brains could be thawed and inserted into a donor body."|
|"Have you ever pondered why we itch in the first place?"|
|"Every saint and every sinner in the history of our species lived out their lives on a spec of dust suspended in space."|
|Head Transplant Hailed a Success|
|"Academics who study basic income said the pilot gives a chance to see how the idea plays in a changed economy."|
|Google's Self-Driving Cars Giving Rides to the Public|
|"It’s appealing to imagine a world where artificial wombs grow babies."|
|"You look in the mirror and see your body and your face and you think that’s you—but that’s really just the machine you’re riding in."|
|"This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst."|
|Religious Loophole to Turn Lights On and Off During Shabbat|
|Where AI is Currently At|