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23 November 2006

So there is a little there, there

William Gibson’s famous metaphor has long been most appropriate when discussing the nature of the Parallel World.

It seems however that a set of rough calculations have measured the weight of the non-existent there. Not a very useful thing, perhaps, but the idea is as evocative as the original author’s vision. A few grams of the purest stuff, indeed – in plasma screens rather than lightbulbs.

It used to be we measured that world by the Library of Congress equivalency. This having fallen long out of favour, it has been the practice to attempt to quote however many petabytes per day, or growth over a period of time, but these are clumsy instruments without the same imaginative utility.

We still wonder, however, what is the shape, not having an aleph handy, and the old Bell Labs maps growing older by the day.