Monday, September 23, 2019

virus vs virus

I've been thinking about an old post on hacker Andrew "bunnie" Huang's blog, looking at the information density of human viruses. My favorite quote from it:
[on analyzing H1N1 in terms of bits of information] So it takes about 25 kilobits -- 3.2 kbytes -- of data to code for a virus that has a non-trivial chance of killing a human. This is more efficient than a computer virus, such as MyDoom, which rings in at around 22 kbytes.
It's humbling that I could be killed by 3.2kbytes of genetic data. Then again, with 850 Mbytes of data in my genome, there's bound to be an exploit or two.
That's just a neat way of thinking about it... it seems amazing that you can quantize information like that.

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