I don’t know your stance on environment preservation. Overall, I’m not a big environmentalist. I believe that we need to take care of what we have, be smart, do what we can, etc., but I have never really been of the mindset that I need to worry and take seriously life-changing action.
Until now, that is.
No, I’m not going to tell you that we need to save the trees, the rain forest, the whales, the rivers, the oceans, the air, or even the Argali. No, I’m talking about something much more serious. Something has recently been brought to my attention, and after a little research I’ve come to the alarming conclusion that we all, as a society, need to take immediate action: write your congressman, put a sign in your yard, picket offending companies, and organize other peaceful demostrations that will be broadcast on local and national news media.
“What is it that has got Scott so concerned?”, you ask. (Go ahead, I’ll wait while you ask…)
It’s the GUIDs. Globally Unique IDentifiers. You know, those 128 bit, hexadecimal strings that are, well, globally unique. They typically look something like this:
There are only (approximately) 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. In ordinary English, that is just over 340 trillion trillion trillion – roughly 10^38 GUIDs total.
Sure, that sounds like a lot, but think about it. There are already over 6 billion people on earth. At current population growth rates (2.15% in 2004), the earth’s population will double in about 30 years and will square itself in just over 2^10 years, and we will have over 40 million trillion people. Given that there are only approximately 10^80 particles in the known universe, and that each person is made up of a bunch of those (10^7 red corpuscles alone, not counting the other color corpuscles, or things like intestines and hair follicles), and that in such a short time, the earth’s population will square itself, I think we have serious cause to worry.
When you think about it, we already don’t have enough GUIDs to truly globally uniquely identify every particle. As it is, if we tried to identify every particle, each GUID would be “responsible” for ~10^40 particles. That’s 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 10,000 trillion trillion trillion.
That’s GUID abuse, if you ask me!! We HAVE to stop the madness!
“What do we do?”, you ask. I’m not sure, to be honest. I’ll have to leave that up to people much more intelligent than myself. I do have a few ideas, though. Please excuse my naivety if you are a GUID expert. I’m just trying to do what I can to save the poor little guys things. (I have been informed that GUIDs are asexual entities.) My ideas:
- Institute a mandatory GUID recycling program. If it works for Pepsi cans and newspapers, it can help the GUIDs. But we can’t wait until it’s too late — there would be none left to recycle.
- Make each particle complete a GUID Request Application (GRA) and a Verification of Uniqueness Addendum (VUA). The problem with this idea is that each application itself contains particles, thus requiring and endless cycle of GRAs and VUAs. Maybe someone can take this idea and re-work it a little so it wouldn’t be so immediately catastrophic.
- We could invent a Super GUID, or SGUID (SQUID in some Anglo-based languages) consisting of 1024 bits. Similar to GUID-breeding (which is too deep of a concept to cover in the scope of this post), I think this is the most immediate solution, but is akin to throwing more money at a problem, or more RAM at an underpowered server running a poorly written application.
At the end of the day, I can only hope that this post generates some interest, some concern, some thought, some discussion, and some action. Please, people, let’s save the GUIDs from abuse and extinction. Together, we can find a way!!
Note: All GUIDs presented in this post are recycled, reclaimed, or reconditioned GUIDs. No GUIDs were harmed in the writing of this post.
Scott, I think you need to get out of the office more often. 🙂