Small wonders

This isn’t a particularly deep or thoughtful post, but I saw something to make me roll out my Keanu Reaves impression: “Whoa.”

Z-blog cites the following from a LA Times article:

Last year more transistors were produced, and at a lower cost, than grains of rice, according to the Semiconductor Industry Assn. Moore estimates that the number of transistors shipped in 2003 was 10 quintillion, or 10 to the 18th power — about 100 times the number of ants estimated to be stalking the planet.

Wow, transistors are more plentiful and cheaper than rice — and they probably end-up feeding more people, too, when you think about how essential they are to everything we take for granted these days. I can’t think of anything that’s produced today — even food — that isn’t affected by the technology that solid-state transistors make possible. Furthermore, without them your iPod would be full of tubes and about the size of an old Victrola. (What’s also amazing about this story is that somewhere we have an estimate for the number of ants in the world).

Just like all of those ants, these little transistors are often overlooked. Still, it’s mind-boggling that they can be produced in such quantities and at such prices. Let’s hear it for markets and innovation!

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