September 16th, 2005


You thought you knew what you needed . . . (most people do -- think so, that is)

. . . but you really needed this: [site with ASCII version of KJV bible w/stats that isn't there anymore]

I stumbled on it while I was trying to come up with definitions of gigabyte and terabyte that total lay technophobes could relate to (a thing for school).  I was surprised.

3,566,480 letters in the Bible.  Did they count the spaces and punctuation?  It doesn't say.  What it says is 3,566,480 "letters."  If we assume that those are really letters and don't include spaces and punctuation, then we can add about 783,137 / (3,566,480 / 783,137) = 171,963 spaces at the end of each average 4.55 letter word.  And we can count on a period at the end of each verse and (taking a quick peek) another comma, colon or apostrophe per verse is a safe bet.  So that's 3,566,480 171,963 31,101 * 2 = just over 3.8 million characters.  Which gives us two hundred eighty two and a half Bibles per gigabyte in the gruntest uncompressed ASCII format known to man.

What surprised me was that using the same "logic" (I flatter myself, I know) the New Testament (180,522Words^2 / 838,380Letters 7,957Verses * 2 = 893,164 characters) would fit on a floppy, probably with room for the Book of Psalms, too.  Who knew?  I would have guessed not.

In fact, by my estimates, if you ran a plain ASCII version of the entire King James Bible through PKZip, it would just barely (with maybe 16KB of wiggle room) fit on a floppy.  That does amaze me for some reason.  Here I set out to show a group just how mind bogglingly big a terabyte is (it will hold over 282,500 Bibles, by the way) and I end up discovering how much smaller the Bible is than I thought it was.  Hmmmm . . .  'Course I'm not exactly a scholar, either.  It's much easier to amaze yourself when you don't know very much.

[EDIT - 2005.10.18: It turns out the above is rather bogus. There is no need to divide the letters by the number of words to get the average length of a word. It doesn't matter. We know how many words there are--they told us. Well, there will be a space or a punctuation mark at the end of every word, so, to start with, you can add an extra character for every word: 783,137 +  3,566,480 = 4,349,617. Then with paragraph delimiters (not taken into account above - cr/lf?) and miscellaneous punctuation, you can probably add another four characters per verse: 4,349,617 + 124,404 = 4,474,021. So, you most probably could not fit the the compressed ascii Bible on a floppy.  And in two more years there will be no one left alive who knows what a floppy was.]

. . .

Amazon got back to me and asked me to strip the header info off that e-mail I got yesterday and send it to them.  It is bogus and they want to know who is up to what.

I don't feel so paranoid now that I know they really are out to get me.

. . .

A classmate who works in the office at TVI tells me that they are changing the name to "Central New Mexico Community College" because it's not just a tech-school anymore.  BARF !  I realize that TVI was never its name.  It was Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute, ATVI if you wanted to abbreviate it properly.  But it was "TVI" that stuck, for forty years now -- long before I went there the first time.  There is something blue-collar manly about having attended a tech-school.  There is something decidedly wussy about having graduated from a "community college."

I'm proud of TVI.  Proud to have it in town, proud of the way it's run and proud to have gone and be going there.  I think I need to write them a letter. . .  Community College my ass !