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Walter
From the book:
aha! Gotcha (Martin Gardner) Paradoxes to puzzle and delight a favorite article. 

29 Mar 2014, 22:16 

tthsqe
is this a joke? If you consider that the stick is about the length of a human arm and that atoms are about 200pm, you can only encode about 5 billion different numbers. ???


29 Mar 2014, 22:31 

typedef
Amazing indeed. I'd love to see this in real life though. Very interesting


29 Mar 2014, 22:32 

revolution
You could also code the information on a single hydrogen atom. An exercise for the reader: figure out how to encode an arbitrary amount of information in a single atom.


30 Mar 2014, 11:58 

cod3b453
This very much depends on the data but in reality this will be the worst case where the encyclopedia is coprime [or shares few large factors] with the base and so 2n+1 symbols are needed for n symbols of data.
Even so, taking the set of symbols as 1000 and measurement as being atomlevel, the number of atoms required would be 1000(2n+1). Assuming a carbon rod, a length of 1m would be about 1/70x10^12=1.4x10^10 atoms so about 7x10^6 symbols of data could be encoded this way. With 300m symbols for the whole encyclopedia that's about a 50m rod but as the problem is mass, it does deliver because it is much lighter than the printed book. 

31 Mar 2014, 13:43 

sleepsleep
is that the basis of all information is 0 and 1, and there wouldn't be another kinda of most basic information structure?


31 Mar 2014, 14:32 

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