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April 09, 2007


Mike Wood

Since much of the web today is carried on fiber optics, what is the weight of all those photons?

John Burgess

What? Doesn't every else live in a Faraday Cage?

Maybe that explains the dearth of trick-or-treaters....


You're talking about active computation -- the bits going through processors. How about the mass of stored data? All of the massive storage arrays the large net players have should account for something.

Dan Ciruli

1.21 Gigawatts!?!!? What was I thinking?

Chris H

Surely, you should only be counting the weight of the information itself. Just counting the weight of the electrons, which are one arbitrary part of the media doesn't seem right.

Dick Davies

Agree with Chris - I've forgotten my information theory, but it would make more sense to weigh the data on the Net rather than the power running through the hardware that makes it up.


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Well well well... Not bad, not bad... Can better? ;)


keep up the good work!


Photons are weightless - they travel at the speed of light.


I think both of these arguments are flawed.

(the following is similiar in thought many posters above)

To figure out how much the internet weighs should simply be the combined weight of the magnetism of all the hard drives that store the data.

Of course it depends on what part of the internet you're trying to measure.
A measurement of the 'the internet' in my mind is the data that comprises the internet and not:

- the data being sent around(too redundant and dynamic to calculate)
- the media doing the sending
- the power used to do all the sending

That being said, I can't find any info on the weight of magnetism. My gut says that it weighs less than the wieght of electrons. If magnetism is wieghtless then so is the internet

Thats my two cents.
Inquiries into the weight of magnetism should be directed elsewhen.


ah non c bon

Abhijit, India

Shameless self promotion.

A long winded story, unreadable language and phraseology, bad methodologies, bad estimate. Entirely unuseful for the intriguing question at hand.

Get back to me when you think of a verb.


Not to be a jerk, but... what the heck! The B-25 that the Empire State Building weighed 1/10 as much as the 767s that hit the WTC. It was also traveling at something on the order of 100 mph versus ~500 for the 767s. Using Newton's Law (which I don't recall quite perfectly) we can see that the 767s delivered roughly 250 times as much energy impacting the WTC than the B-25 hitting the Empire State Building. The crashes are not really comparable.


A different way to calculate this is take 40 GW * 24 hours * 3600 sec/hour
= 3.456 x 10^15 J of energy. Then, using Einstein's famous formula E = m c^2, the equivalent mass is 0.0386 kg or about 37 g.

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Wow gigawatts :|



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