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Published on Nov 14, 2010
Using NBTEdit, http://bit.ly/cLF5ao, I see what it's like 8000 kilometers or so away from the spawn point at 0,64,0. It's funky, but possible to play. At a radius (yes, radius) of about 9000 kilometers things become unplayable, as autosave kicks in continuously.
Once upon a time it was possible to get to the edge of the world, at 32,000 km from the default spawn point, see this video: http://bit.ly/9YK6Iy. Notch computes his "8 times the surface area of Earth" from this distance, see http://bit.ly/aJrJUk (hmmm, never mind, his post is corrupted now!). But now the limits are smaller. Just shy of 32,000 km now just immediately locks up Minecraft and it dies.
A radius of 9000 km gives a surface area of about 255 million square km. The Earth's surface area (including oceans) is about 511 million square km. So in reality the playable part of a Minecraft world is at the very most half the surface area of the Earth. Here are the relevant calculations: http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtop...
Update: I just found a video where the guy goes considerably further, which complements this video - he does get to the "end of the world" without locking up, like my build did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx0x2y...