math of Bittorrent
Sunday, April 14 2013
This evening Gretchen prepared us both meals of two different kinds of frozen burritos, and then she proceeded to pour Trader Joe's habañero sauce on mine. At first it looked like she was just doing a decorative squiggle, which would have been the right amount, but then she kept pouring it on. I didn't say anything; perhaps this particular habañero sauce happened to be mild. But it wasn't. Its presence considerably-slowed my eating of my burritos. Interestingly, though, while it was a hot experience for my mouth, I wasn't expecting to be burned so badly on the facial skin near my lips. Over the years I suspect I've developed a tolerance for heat in the mucosa of my mouth, but it's rare for my facial skin to be exposed and so it was more vulnerable.
My mouth gradually cooled over the course of watching the recently-broadcast two hour season premier of Mad Men (now in its sixth season).
At around midnight I used Bittorrent to download the latest episode of Game of Thrones, which had been broadcasted on HBO several hours before. The swarm of computers sharing the latest episode was more than 33 thousand strong, a number I've never seen before. It makes perfect sense, of course. With its appeal to young nerdy types, an episode of Game of Thrones is precisely the sort of file Bittorrent was designed for sharing. I managed to get the 396 megabyte file while only uploading 50 megabytes to others in the swarm. Assuming that 50 megabytes was distributed evenly to all 33000 in the swarm (and it's not; some of those people are seeders who have already downloaded the whole thing), only 1.5 kilobytes of data on my computer went to each person in the swarm. That's an absurdly small amount of HD video. I did the math and, assuming the episode was an hour long, that's only about 1/100th of a second of the show. It would be very hard for, say, a trolling member of the movie industry who managed to download that amount of content from my computer to make a case that I was providing illegal access to pirated content. I suspect this is why there have been no attempts to bring members of Bittorrent swarms to justice. There is, of course, that plan by the large internet providers to harass Bittorrent-using customers flagged for them by the movie industry, but that doesn't involve the legal system (and may actually be in violation of antitrust laws).
This particular episode (episode three) of Game of Thrones finally broke season three's run of mediocre episodes. I knew this episode would be good when the attempt by an archer to fire a flaming arrow at raft holding the body of the dead king was met by failure. One failure would have been enough, but there were two. And then later in the episode an escaped prisoner is about to be fucked in the ass by his pursuers but, before they get the chance, they're felled by arrows in an obvious tribute to Deliverance. And as for that dragon being traded by Daenerys for a slave army, it seems like a wise move. Some day she may face that dragon in battle, where it will realize it is on the wrong side and become the world's most useful ally. But in the meantime she'll have an 8000 man slave army. (I'm just conjecturing here; I have not read the books — I do not have the patience for fiction.)
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