Treebeard's Homepage : Stumpers

Treebeard's Stumper
18 January 2002

Show Me a Million

Every day we hear about millions and billions and trillions of this or that. But number numbness sets in and imagination falters. It effects our public policy. The stumper is to actually produce a million of something and prove that it really is a million. Sure, a gram is a million micrograms, but I won't accept that. My challenge is to make it vivid! Sometimes even a million is not much. I installed a 120 giga-byte hard drive over vacation, 120 billion bytes of computer storage! What about the extreme metric prefix yotta or 1024. Can you think of a use for it?

One way to visualize a million is to imagine yourself in a huge crowd.
But the stumper is to produce exactly one million, not just lots as in
these historic photos!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963 before a crowd of 250,000+.
No one knows how many people were at Woodstock in 1969. The estimates are 500,000+. Don't look for me here. I try to avoid crowds!
Estimates are that the Promise Keepers' rally filled the Washington D.C. mall with more than a million people in 1997!

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Copyright © 2002 by Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org