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Friday, April 18, 2008

Exponential rice grains and free laptops?

Yes ... I got another one of those e-mails saying that if I forward it to 8 people I will be sent a free laptop! ... wow - that almost sounds too good to be true! ... truth is - if it sounds too good to be true - it most likely is too good to be true, and it is probably just another anoying hoax/whatever.

Think about it - do you really think someone is going to give away that many free laptops?

How many?

Interesting question that ...

I am not really that good at maths, but I think even I can work this one out:

If you were one of the 8 people someone sent the e-mail to, and all 8 of you send it to 8 more people that is 8 laptops (for you and the other 7 people) … and 64 people who got the e-mail from you/the other 7 people – so if they all send it to 8 people then that is 64 laptops … and 512 people that got an e-mail from one of those 64 people - so if all 512 of those send it on that would be 512 laptops … etc

… ok they probably wouldn’t all send it on – but at least half would – but if only half of them sent it on each time that would still start to add up after a while …

even if only 2 of the 8 people sent it on each time it would quickly mount up to a lot of laptops – in fact it is just like a story I heard once (think it was some fairy tale/folk tale/legend) about someone being asked what they wanted for a reward for something and getting laughed at and told “yes” when they asked for one grain of rice on a square of a chess board, then on the next day double that amount of rice on the next square, then the next day double that on the next square … and so on each day until they had used all the squares the chess board and then that would be sufficient …

whoever it was on the giving end laughed because they thought it funny that the person only wanted his reward to last for 64 days … but it was a different story later when he realised what happens when you keep doubling the number of grains of rice … LOL
hmmm ... 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, … doesn’t sound too bad so far … but that is only 7 squares … lol … 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 6192, …

after 2 weeks it still doesn’t sound too bad – except I guess someone has to COUNT them! … 16384, 32768, 65536 131072 262144 524288 1048576 2097152 4194304 8388608 16777216 33554432 67108864 …

do I have to go on ? … the calculator won’t go any further (is a very basic old solar one that I found lying beside the monitor – lol)

… that is nearly 4 weeks, and only 27 squares, and I am fairly sure he is already feeding his whole family … LOL …

remember – this is exponential growth here … the final number of rice grains ends up being more than we can grow in a season in the whole world!

Btw … not sure why I bothered working all that stuff out when I could have just done a google search first (instead of after doing all that typing and maths) and found it on several pages … like this one - (scroll down to the bottom third of the page and there is a picture of a chess board with an explanation and one version of the legend). There is also stuff about it here (except that one talks about it being wheat instead of rice).

Btw … that is just fictional rice grains … but I just got to thinking (ouch?) – this kind of maths/logic also applies to the actual e-mails that everyone sends around in the hope of getting free stuff or of avoiding viruses or other nasties (like having their kidneys stolen and waking up in a bath of ice or whatever) … the rice and the chess board is a bit like if everyone who got one of those e-mails sent it to 2 people who sent it to 2 people who sent it to 2 people … etc … so if we consider that they usually get sent to 5 or even 50 people at a time, and at least some of those people send it on … no wonder these things clog up e-mail severs! LOL

Still wondering how many rice grains? junk e-mails? grains of sand on a beach?

Want to count some?

Here u go:

(sand, on a beach in Adelaide, in January ... I knew I took that odd photo for a reason!)

I don’t need a free laptop for sending 8 e-mails – I just want 1 cent for every copy of that e-mail that has been received by anyone! (then I could probably buy the whole darn laptop factory! ... and the huge house that was near that sandy beach!)

btw ... if anyone reading this has forwarded the e-mails and actually GOT a free laptop - please feel free to comment and tear me down in flames (I will read whatever it is you say ... right after I go and forward 8 copies of that e-mail! LOL)

1 comment:

  1. Even a dollar for every time I receive one of those emails would be nice!
    Why do people send them to me? I never send them on, so maybe they think I don't ever get them!


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