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Home > iSGTW 27 May 2009 > Link of the Week - Data transfer at a snail's pace. Literally.


Link of the Week - Data transfer at a snail's pace. Literally.

The snail-based system in feed-forward action. Image courtesy Herbert Bishko. Photo on front page courtesy Lysanne Ooteman, stock.exchng

If you think you have problems with the sometimes slow pace at which information travels from one computer to another, then consider the solution offered by this scientific paper: “Snail-based Data Transfer Protocol.”

It describes an experiment in data transfer using real, genuine, live snails, along with a “lettuce-based guidance system.”

No lie.

There’s even a picture (see right).

The papers’ authors, Shimon Schocken, dean of Efi Arazi School of Computer Science Herzliya, and Revital Ben-David-Zaslow of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, Israel, reported that their experiment delivered a 37 million bits-per-second data transfer rate — faster than ADSL.

Their paper earned the distinction of being named a “Classic” by the Annals of Improbable Research, the same organization that awards the yearly Ig Nobel Prizes for research that “makes people laugh and then think.” (Or, as some wags put it, for “research which can not — and should not — be reproduced.”)

The paper does admit to a drawback: “In some regions, most notably France, culinary habits may pose a denial-of-service (DOS) problem.”

PS: We found escargot to be rather nice — especially after drinking plenty of wine first!


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