James and the Giant Corn Rotating Header Image

October 12th, 2009:

Could someone check my math?



Per capita meat consumption in America is 124.8 kilos per year. Which is ~275 pounds per year, 5.3 pounds per week, and almost exactly 3/4 of a pound per day.

That seems like a lot to me. I mean that’s three quarter-pound hamburgers each and every day. On occasion I’ve hit twice that, maybe thrice in a single meal. But when I say on occasion, I mean every once in a long while. I can’t believe the occasional, delicious, burger binge would bring my average up to three quarters of a pound on a per-day basis.

Have I made an obvious math error? Am I eating less like the average American than I realize? Anyone have more insight into this statistic?

Internet Scale Data

I’m pretty proud of my eight core* workstation. But then I picked up the New York Times this morning** and found out I’m in fact behind the times:

For the most part, university students have used rather modest computing systems to support their studies. They are learning to collect and manipulate information on personal computers or what are known as clusters, where computer servers are cabled together to form a larger computer. But even these machines fail to churn through enough data to really challenge and train a young mind meant to ponder the mega-scale problems of tomorrow.

“If they imprint on these small systems, that becomes their frame of reference and what they’re always thinking about.”

Analyzing huge data sets is only going to get more important in the future, especially in biology. (more…)