Re: Project Star Net

Mark Crosby (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 06:12:40 -0700 (PDT)

>>* What are the data requirements of transmitting a
person? What if the traveller is enhanced with extra
memory -- do you charge by the gigabyte, or have a
fixed rate for everybody?

>Rough estimate: 10^11 neurons, 10^4 synapses each,
five bytes per synapse (where it is connected,
synaptic strength) = 5*10^15 bytes. If you want to
scan the whole body, you will need *huge* amounts of
bandwidth (remember, one mol is 10^23 atoms...).

There is an amusing scenario in Greg Egan's story
"The Planck Dive" (Asimov's Science Fiction, February
1998) where some folks are 'faxing' themselves across
a StarNet-like system:

"The first of the two visitors was still standing
patiently at the end of the pier ... Her fellow
traveler, still in transit, was represented by a
motionless placeholder. Both icons were highly
anatomical-realist ...

'You're here to observe the Planck Dive?' Gisela
chose to betray no hint of puzzlement; it would have
been pointlessly cruel to drive home the fact that
they could have seen everything from Athena. Even if
you fetishized realtime data over lightspeed
transmissions, it could hardly be worth slipping 194
years out of synch with your fellow citizens".

Gisela & Cordelia then go off to tour a "scape" of
the black hole while waiting for Prospero to finish
his transmission because he's brought his entire
castle along with him! Gisela winces: "It was a good
thing they'd compressed their accommodation more
efficiently than their bodies, or they would have
tied up the gamma ray link for about a decade".

BTW, Prospero turns out to be a type that Extropians
would love to hate: he's an anachronistic flesher
bard "come to create enigmas, not explanations" and
thinks that "To extract the mythic essence, mere
detail must become subservient to a deeper truth".

Mark Crosby

Get your free address at