A picture is worth 130,000 words

Words girlI had some fun with amateur information theory the other day. I was thinking it’s really interesting that a single photo from my camera is roughly the same file size as, say, a good-sized novel (about 1 MB). So I did a quick calculation. Meaningless, but fun.

Information theory says, loosely, that one way to estimate the amount of information something contains is to compress it. Most images on the web are compressed, so that’ll do for a rough calculation. I wrote a little script (see note 1 below) using Google images to tell me the “average size of an image”. I grabbed 1000 random image search pages, and the average image size was 210 KB.

Then I downloaded a big written text — the King James Bible. It’s about 790,000 words, and it zipped up to 1300 KB. So the final calculation is 790,000 x 210/1300.

In short, a picture is worth about 130,000 words. :-)

Note 1: Apparently my Python script broke the Google Terms of Service. Point 5.3 says you aren’t allowed to access Google services via scripts or crawlers. Oh, the irony. Google crawls the whole web, but woe betide the one who crawls them.

Note 2: And another interesting fact I discovered is that no fewer than 37% of the verses in the KJV Bible begin with “And”.

18 June 2007 by Ben    2 comments

2 comments (oldest first)

budigelli 19 Jun 2007, 09:59 link

WOW, i don’t know what else to say! :)

Bruce Hoyt 24 Jul 2007, 17:29 link

37% of verses in the KJV starting with ‘and’ is a Hebraism. The wav-consequtive is being translated as ‘and’.

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