Thursday, December 20, 2001

Lifted directly from the pages of Slashdot, source of geek news:

"Jupiter Media Metrix released a report on Monday about PC gaming - here's one of the more interesting tidbits: 'Similar to past years, Microsoft Windows-bundled games dominated the top rankings in October 2001: Solitaire was number one, with 21.3 million users.' A little math tells us that americans spent about 24 million man-hours in October on Solitarie (estimating that each user spent a little more than an hour over the whole month) That corresponds to about 1 million man-days, or around 2740 man-years! For comparison, I looked up these numbers... Empire State Building: 7 million man-hours (a mere 9 days of Solitaire), Panama Canal: 20 million man-hours (a mere 26 days of Solitaire), Apollo project: 15.5 billion man-hours (or a mere 52 years of Solitaire) Think about it!"

I am thinking about it, and while the natural response is to feel guiltily complicit in this massive timesink, or nod knowingly at the follow of mankind, I find myself strangely encouraged by this statistic. It certainly resembles the way I've been spending my life, and we're a race that can accomplish great things even though we waste so much time.

I also hadn't fully realized how enormous the Apollo project was, but this example really brought it home to me.