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2011 AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows

Kelly April
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chicago Tribune

A new study reports an inventory of the world’s technological capacity to store, communicate and compute information over the last two decades.

First, a refresher: A bit is the smallest unit of information, and a megabyte equals 8 million bits.

Now, the results: In 2007, humankind was able to store 295 trillion optimally compressed megabytes, to communicate almost 2 quadrillion megabytes, and to carry out 6.4 trillion MIPS (million instructions per second) on general-purpose computers.