where the flamingcow roams

Why is my directory empty and large?

This is more a curiosity question than a problem. Try this:

mkdir temp
cd temp
seq 1 30000 | xargs touch
ls -lhd .
find . -type f | xargs rm
ls -lhd .

Doing this on ext3 shows a 432k directory that stays that size even after the files are removed. It appears that ext3 practices lazy deletion, leaving the directory structures intact. It probably assumes that a directory that was large once will be large again, so it can save the allocation expense in the future.