Friday, October 19, 2012

Avian Data Transfer

This quote from a wikipedia page amuses me:

In September 2009, a South African IT company, based in Durban, pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a data packed 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest internet service provider,Telkom. The pigeon named Winston took an hour and eight minutes to carry the data 80 km (50 mi). Including downloading, it took two hours, six minutes, and 57 seconds for the data to arrive, the same amount of time it took to transfer 4% of the data over the ADSL
Since data storage has increased so much in capacity, pigeons have become a much more practical tool for transferring data. It used to be that you could transfer a message a few hundred miles with one, but it wouldn't be more than you could fit on a page. Now, you could transfer all the data required to produce a stealth fighter on one bird. Given the huge population of feral birds this just might be the least likely message to be intercepted as well. I doubt a drone could track a bird even if it knew it had a message. The bird might get shot down, but only with a very determined effort.

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