Recently I read a great, inspiring book by Shauna Fleming called 'A Million Thanks'. The book told the story of how teenage Shauna went from thinking her father trying to help out soldiers families was silly to her mission to have ONE MILLION letters sent to our troops. She accomplished her mission as told in her book, and you can participate through AMillionThanks.org.
Of course, this being Robot Nine, her story got me to thinking just how much a million is and I have a few interesting things to share.
There is an interesting site by Worsley School that demonstrates what a million is. It tells how much stuff you might buy with a million dollars, and in one example they show how much room a million sugar cubes would take up. I was rather shocked by the answer.
A bit more graphic and quick to see is the Million Dots Page. The example above has small blocks of 10 x 10, ten columns wide and 10 rows deep. That's 10,000 dots. Go to the site and be prepared to scroll to the right. Further. Further. Fuuuuurther...
Andrew Clements has a wonderful book called 'A Million Dots' that is packed with information about big numbers, and would be great to help a child visualize and understand just how large a number one million really is.
The MegaPenny page has the image above, and you can see that a million pennies would be big, not huge, but very heavy. Ask for a check instead. Or non-sequential serial number hundred dollar bills. This interesting site also has lots of graphics on the size of obscenely huge amounts of cash. Neat.
Any thought of the number one million leads to thoughts of money. One interesting fact Robot Nine stumbled across is the story of Elias Hasket Derby, 1739-1799. Derby was a post-revolution American merchant. He turned fast ex-military ships to commercial duty and turned himself into the first American millionaire.
Derby's story made me go searching for some interesting rags-to-riches millionaire tales and here are my three favorites.
Sure you've heard it. "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer". It didn't even make the cut of Robot Nine's Worst Christmas Songs, as it is intentionally goofy. Elmo Shropshire didn't write the song, but he bought the rights and made some copies himself. Popular on local radio, he still had a long uphill struggle before the song was taken on by a record label, played on MTV, and Elmo went on to earn not one but FIVE million dollars. Visit Mahalo for the story and a video interview or Elmo's Official Webpage.
Anshe Chung is a virtual inhabitant in the online world of Second Life. This virtual universe features currency called Linden dollars, and participants create an online persona, businesses, homes, a complete world. Interesting. Anshe is pretend, a creation of Ailin Graef who in two and a half years built a Second Life empire of land and businesses valued at several million Linden dollar, which, get this, can be turned into real hard American currency! Ailin/Anshe is the first person ever to become a virtual/real life millionaire. We are talking play money that can be exchanged and spent at the mall. How cool is that. What a world I have been born into. Two interesting stories about the lady are here and here.
Making a million virtual/real dollars is exciting but how about making over a million dollars in about four months while still in college, all from your bedroom, wearing your pajamas. That's the kind of million I want to make. Alex Tew wanted to make some money for college and had the stunning and simple idea of creating a web page 1,000 by 1,000 pixels. He would sell the pixels for $1.00 each with a minimum purchase of a 10 x 10 block. The unique nature of the idea would draw visitors to the page providing the advertisers the bang for their buck. The idea caught fire and a few months later the last of the pixels were auctioned off on eBay and Alex had banked a million dollars. Read a news story about Alex and visit the Million Dollar Homepage.