Would Aristotle appreciate microSD cards?
I'm trying damn hard not to lose sight of the fact that something the size of a human tooth can store every article in Wikipedia's English-language encyclopedia
When lodestones were discovered, their natural magnetic properties were considered somewhat magical. Aristotle famously understood the healing powers contained within naturally magnetic objects. In later centuries we came to understand that magnetism is simply the act of one material exerting an attractive or repulsive influence on another, as a result of the presence of a magnetic field. We accept that it's not magical, but simply a useful natural phenomenon.
I'm now the proud owner of a . It has a slot for a microSD cards and supports cards up to 4GB in capacity. microSD cards measure 15 by 11 by 0.7 mm, and weigh about 1g. On this tiny sliver it's possible to concurrently store about three DVD-quality movies, 250 music tracks and about 800 digital photos. Assuming the average book has 300 pages, in 2007 something the size of a human fingernail can store close to 15,000 books.
Despite the fact that I understand exactly how digital storage works, SD cards -- more specifically microSD cards -- are, to me, magical. We take things like the Internet, transcontinental wireless video calling and sending DVD-quality movies over a computer network in seconds, for granted. I know I do. But I'm trying damn hard not to lose sight of the fact that something sitting in my phone, without compression, can store every article in Wikipedia's English-language encyclopedia.
So despite understanding how data is stored, and despite my studies of computer science, high-capacity microSD cards are as amazing to me as magnetism was to Aristotle and Thales, two philosophers who lived over 2,000 years ago. Would they have taken magnetism for granted if they lived now? Perhaps. But goodness only knows what they'd think about having everything they'd ever written stored several times over on something the size of a human tooth.