What is The Weight of 1 Byte of Diskspace?

My dad who is unofficially one of the most brilliant thinkers in the world asked me a question that nearly made me dropped the book I was reading on a sunny evening (dropping a book is something very serious for me as my love for books forbid any physical damage to them). The question was simple. What is the weight of 1 Byte of Disk space?

Being in the “I will not leave a question unanswered” kind of mood, I started explaining to my dad that one byte is made up of 8 bits (binary digits) that is used mainly as a unit of measurement of information storage in computers. My dad of course readily agreed to my explaination but pointed out that I was (as usual) missing the point and not answering the question.

I then replied that everything, no matter how seemingly weightless must have weight in order to be in existence. Even light has weight! (Einstein prediction that gravity could change the frequency of light was verified )

Recently, this question started to haunt me again as my affiliation with my personal computer grew (article writing, blogging, review writing, Googling, etc). Instead of relying on mathematics to answer the question, deductive philosophy and logic might be up to the job. I came up with a few parameters in which to base my argument on.

1. If 1 byte does not have any weight attributes, why is there such a thing as a maximum disk space limitation? Surely if 1 byte is weightless, my computer can incorporate all data in the world and store it there till kingdom come.

2. Why is there rumours that Google is constantly increasing its armada of servers to keep it’s ever growing amount of data? If one byte does not weigh anything, there should not be an increase of servers for Google.

I personally think that the term weight may not be the right measurement to be attributed to one byte. The right word should be space as data do occupy space on the hard disk (it really looks like a disc when you open it up). Therefore, if one is to measure the weight of 1 byte, one would need to measure the weight of the lightest and biggest (in terms of memory) storage device (diskette, etc) divided by the maximum amount of bytes it can hold.

The argument is sound based on the fact that one byte cannot be in existence without a storage device. I conclude one byte do have weight (at least in order to be useful). Yet this weight is fixed as your personal computer comes with a fixed capacity of disk space. This means that increasing the number of data in your PC do not increase it’s weight but it occupies existing unused space.

I am of course, begging for someone to prove me wrong.

Comments
2 Responses to “What is The Weight of 1 Byte of Diskspace?”
  1. bluewaveted says:

    I agree! A byte is electronic data, and is only as heavy as the device holding it.

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  1. […] What is The Weight of 1 Byte of Diskspace? March 18, 2009 Posted by jamesesz in Ideas, Mystery, Science, Technology. trackback […]



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