The Crazy Years

That could make a great co-generation facility. I wonder how many 1108s it would take to get 2 Exaflops?


That’s an interesting question. Let’s see. According to the Univac 1108 Processor and Storage [PDF] manual UP-4051r1 (link is to a scanned copy in Fourmilab’s Univac Memories archive), timing for double-precision floating point operations (the closest analogue to 64 bit IEEE floating point which most machines use now, although the Univac had 72 bit precision) were:

  • Add/subtract 2.625 μsec
  • Multiply 4.25 μsec
  • Divide 17.25 μsec

Single precision (36-bit) floating point instructions were about half this time. The basic instruction clock speed was 750 nanoseconds (assuming optimal memory interleaving), so the number of clocks per instruction would be:

  • Add/subtract 3.5
  • Multiply 5.666
  • Divide 23

This is a very different timing mix than contemporary high-performance CPUs, most of which can do at least one of any of the 64-bit floating point instructions in one clock cycle and, using the single instruction multiple data (SIMD) extensions, the latest generation of CPUs can do as many as 64 per clock. With the 1108, you have to assume a mix of floating point instructions to estimate average clocks, so I am going to arbitrarily assume an equal number of add/subtracts and multiplies as you do in matrix multiplication, and one divide for every eight multiply-add pairs. That gives an average of four clocks per instruction in this mix, or 3 microseconds per average floating point instruction.

This equates to 333,333 floating point operations per second, or 1/3 megaFLOPS. So dividing 2 exaFLOPS by 1/3 megaFLOPS, we find it would take 6\times 10^{12} (six trillion) Univac 1108s to achieve 2 exaFLOPS double precision computation.

For reference, here are Univac 1108 prices as of 1968, in 1968 dollars. If we just count the price of the CPU with the basic half megabyte core memory, that’s US$(1968) 1,389,960, which is about US$(2022) 12.1 million in today’s BidenBucks. So, to buy six trillion 1108s in today’s dollars would cost US$ 7.26\times 10^{19}, 72.6 exabucks, or or 72.6 quadrillion FRNs.

Let’s look at the storage capacity (solid-state disc) of the Aurora supercomputer, which is specified as 230 petabytes. The main mass storage device of the Univac 1108 was the FASTRAND II, which had a capacity of about 90 megabytes (depending on how you convert 36 bit words to 8 bit bytes). To obtain 230 petabytes of storage with FASTRANDs, you’d need 2.56 billion of them which, at their 1968 cost of US$(1968) 134,400 a pop (US$(2022) 1.17 million) would set you back around 3 quadrillion dollars (petabucks).

A FASTRAND II weighed around 2.25 tons, so 2.56 billion of them would weigh around 5.2\times 10^{12} kg, or about 1000 times the weight of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.


And I’ve heard it would be necessary to align their compass directions carefully to avoid interfering with the rotation of the earth.


They are already winning. My son, who teaches both undergrads and grad students maths, says virtually none of them can do even basic arithmetic.


The Guardian reports, “Türkiye, not Turkey: US diplomats agree to spelling change”:

The US state department has said it will largely stop writing the word Turkey and instead call the country Türkiye, agreeing to a request by the Turkish government, which resents the inadvertent association with poultry.

In a statement announcing measures to disrupt financiers of the Islamic State group, the state department wrote of joint action between “the United States and Türkiye”, written with an umlaut over the u.

Turks have long been upset by cartoons and other references that associate their country’s name in English with the bird – believed to be so named because the British thought the species, indigenous to North America, came from the east.

In a recent article, Turkish public broadcaster TRT World noted that a “turkey” can also be slang for a “stupid or silly person”.

Perhaps the real turkeys are at the U.S. State Department.

Some countries have names which have been frequently prefixed in English with “The”, such as “The Netherlands”, “The Bahamas”, “The Ukraine”, “The Argentine”, and “The Gambia”. I think I’m going to start calling Erdoğan’s paradise “The Turkey”.


U.S. banks have been pissing on people and getting away with it for so long, perhaps the executive thought it was OK.

Interest rate on Wells Fargo credit cards is currently “17.24% to 29.24%, based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate.”
The U.S. prime rate is currently 7.5%, and the federal funds rate, the rate at which banks lend to one another, is 4.25–4.5%.


That is horrible.

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The US Constitution prohibits patents of nobility. Degrees take the place of life patents of nobility and are actually more valuable than aristocratic patents of nobility nowadays.

This is part of the aristocratic corruption I describe in “The Great Leveler and The Cycle of Civilization” that begins when the aristocracy shifts the cost of protecting property rights off of property rights and onto economic activity.

The world’s reserve currency is a “resource curse” that amplifies this degeneration bringing about an even worse growth of insularity among the already corrupted aristocracy. The positive network externalities of civilization are a tremendous resource that turns into a curse when not distributed to those that place their flesh, blood and bone between chaos and civilization.


Are the devices in all Range Rovers or other model involved?


Remember, UK government high-level officials are basically all on the payroll of the Chinese. Putting a tracker on a government car is simply the Chinese government looking after its top employees. They might need rescuing from irate UK citizens – if any of those peons ever wake up.


Here’s the question: Are Americans going to get as upset about listening devices placed in their cars by the US gov? Wake me up when we start looking at our own government with the same level of skepticism.


Anyone carrying a modern cell phone has a listening and tracking device, only a few seem to disable them. Since most are made in China does that make them Chinese geolocating tracking devices?

Many years ago, late 90s/early aughts when I was on a 911 board, cell phones were being used for traffic volume and speed studies on freeways. Today you can buy tracking information commercially


…The brothers estimate that the $22 million wall of remembrance — an addition to the 27-year-old Korean War Veterans Memorial — contains 1,015 spelling errors. It also incorrectly includes 245 names of service members who died in circumstances totally unrelated to the war, they say, including a man killed in a motorcycle accident in Hawaii and another who drank antifreeze thinking it was alcohol. And it includes one Marine who lived for 60 years after the war and had eight grandchildren.

Beyond that, there are about 500 names that should be listed but are not, according to the Barkers…


?Why worry about spelling. It’s so yesterday!


DC beltway boys and girls can’t be relied on to sweat the details … but they know how to spend!


They could have posted the list on the web 20 years ago and crowdsourced the editing.