say Which News were making the headlines? Which were the top Hits and the most popular Movies? (x 256) -o saywhichnews.m4a

My mac is not particularly fast but it is faster than you will ever be, human.


I ask my mac to ‘say’ the sentence “Which News were making the headlines? Which were the top Hits and the most popular Movies?” 256 times. If the TTS software spoke this out loud it would take it approximately 20 minutes, but if I output the job to an audio file it takes about 30 seconds. The resulting file size is  5,456,412 bytes (5.4 MB on disk) and the duration is of the audio is 21:40.

Is the computer magic? No. So how can it say 22 minutes-worth of speech in 30 seconds? Is the computer superhuman? Yes, a computer is not human. It takes us 22 minutes to listen to the stuff.

And like I said, my Mac is not fast

The Mac is 6 years old and has a 1.7GHz CPU! This is my CPU info: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3317U CPU @ 1.70GHz

So what’s a GHz? This is the symbol for gigahertz, that is 109 Hz, Hz is the symbol for hertz. The hertz is one cycle per second.


1 Gigahertz (GHz) is one billion (1,000,000,000) Hertz. (Hz)

1 GHz = 1 x 109 Hz.

1 GHz = 1000000000 Hz.

1 Cycle per Second: A period of 1 second is equal to 1 Hertz frequency. 

So my 1.7GHz CPU is 1,700,000,000 cycles per second. That is 1.7 billion cycles per second / 1.7 billion hertz… !?

1 Hz is equivalent to 1 second. So 1,700,000,000 Hz is the same as 1,700,000,000 seconds ! 

That is 472222.222222 Hours, or 19,675.9259259 Days, or 2810.84656085 Weeks, or 53.9066463724 Years (53.8708554616 Gregorian Years). So basically my CPU is on another planet to me, us, humans. We base our time on the period that the planet we are on takes to orbit the sun.  ..erm. so yeah, 1 second to us humans is like about 54 years to the CPU. Do I have tis right? It sounds nuts. I mean computers are fast but THAT fast?

In short then 1.7GHz = 54 years (approx)

Or to make it more concrete, a computer can do a billion computations a second.

We would be lucky do do one. But we are not made to do computations, we are made to live in the world. Hence this is why we have to make tools to do the stuff we can’t do efficiently, or at all. Tools are good.


The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the derived unit of frequency in the International System of Units (SI) and is defined as one cycle per second. It is named for Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, the first person to provide conclusive proof of the existence of electromagnetic waves. Hertz are commonly expressed in multiples: kilohertz (10³Hz, kHz), megahertz (10⁶ Hz, MHz), gigahertz (10 Hz, GHz), and terahertz (10¹² Hz, THz).

Some of the unit’s most common uses are in the description of sine waves and musical tones, particularly those used in radio- and audio-related applications. It is also used to describe the speeds at which computers and other electronics are driven…

The hertz is defined as one cycle per second — Wikipedia

The cycle per second was a once-common English name for the unit of frequency now known as the hertz. The plural form was typically used, often written cycles per second, cycles/second, c.p.s., c/s, ~, or, ambiguously, just cycles. The term comes from the fact that sound waves have a frequency measurable in their number of oscillations, or cycles, per second…

With the organization of the International System of Units in 1960, the cycle per second was officially replaced by the hertz, or reciprocal second, “s−1” or “1/s”. Symbolically, “cycle per second” units are “cycle/second”, while hertz is “Hz” or “s−1”. — Wikipedia

In computers, most central processing units (CPU) are labeled in terms of their clock rate expressed in megahertz (10⁶ Hz) or gigahertz (10Hz). This specification refers to the frequency of the CPU’s master clock signal. This signal is a square wave, which is an electrical voltage that switches between low and high logic values at regular intervals.



The computer is not a human brain. Brain-time is not the same as body-time. The brain does things super-fast, and many things faster than any computer can. So really the computer isn’t super-human as such.

If you want to experience human body time, listen to the 22 minutes of gibberish that my computer ‘said’ to file in 30 seconds. 

or if you are so inclined read it yourself, see if you can read 256x the same sentence in 22 minutes. Post your attempt to the social media platform of your choice.


Estimate: Human Brain 30 Times Faster than Best Supercomputers

Is the brain faster than the average computer?

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