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Watch the Internet stream by, one second at a time

While you to think about whether or not to read this story, thousands of YouTube videos are being watched and millions of e-mails are being sent.

Many of you have fewer pixels on your screen right now than the number of e-mails sent in the last second.
Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, over 200,000 YouTube videos will be viewed. That's pretty incredible, until you consider that the number of e-mails sent worldwide during the same time period exceeds 8 million on average. Many of you don't even have that many pixels on your screen right now.

I love to be updated on these mind-blowing numbers every now and then, and a nifty visualization always helps. Fortunately, a little design project called One Second on the Internet puts it all in perspective. It allows you to watch the Internet numbers grow as the seconds tick by, much like the national debt clock in New York.

It's not clear if that gargantuan email figure accounts for spam or irritating e-mail forwards from family members that tout conspiracy theories that were debunked in 2006. And does this mean the National Security Agency is watching 400 YouTube videos every second?

It's a little hard to get a handle on just how much each category of Internet activity is increasing while scrolling through the visualization, so here's the actual rates for each site used by One Second on the Internet.

Reddit votes cast: 197 per second
Instagram photos uploaded: 463 per second
Tumblr posts: 833 per second
Skype calls made: 1,024 per second
Tweets tweeted: 3,935 per second
Dropbox files uploaded: 11,574 per second
Google searches: 33,333 per second
Youtube video views: 46,333 per second
Facebook likes: 52,083 per second
e-mails sent: 1.67 million per second

I was particularly shocked by the Dropbox figure. Let us know in the comments if any of these numbers surprise you.