Math and Arithmetic
Percentages, Fractions, and Decimal Values

How do you illustrate one million as in one million people?

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2007-11-18 17:58:26

I once saw a poster in a classroom that simply consisted of

fairly small dots on a page. At first glance it looked unimpressive

- there were just thousands of these little greyish smudges. But

looking closer, one saw that the dots were actually each

comprised of a 10x10 array of miniscule black points, of which

there were in total a million. Which was the point, of course.

Enough for everyone in my city to have a couple each. A little

googling will find you one of these posters or an online

substitute. A million people holding hands in a line might stretch

as far as 1600km. or 1000 miles. That would take you from England

to Finland, if you had enough boats for them to stand on. One

million people stood on each other, meanwhile, could tower almost

as far as this upward into the sky. A million people standing

together, without being too squashed, would take up roughly

a third of a square mile (almost a square km). The total floor

space of the Pentagon building in all its vastness could not

accomodate them. If one million people were, very inadvisably,

packed into a large cubic box, it would need to be more than 40m.

(44 yards) down each side. This is equivalent to 25 times the

volume of an Olympic swimming pool. One million seconds are

equivalent to over 111/2 days. A period of one million years is

getting on for 200 times the duration of recorded human history.

One million UK pounds represents a lifetime's total income

for an average person in a wealthier country. One million earths

almost match the volume of the sun.


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