The rules are the same as the first contest. You can win a free copy of How Many Licks?. Here's how it works. I’m posting a Fermi question below. To enter, estimate an answer and send it to “aaron at aaronsantos period com.” If your answer is closest to mine, I'll mail you a free signed copy of How Many Licks?.* Submit your entry on or before March 31, 2010. Don't worry…I won't spam you or share your email with any third parties. Here’s the question:
Mario has appeared in over 200 video games as Nintendo’s main mascot. He has starred in TV shows, comic books, and feature films, but anyone who’s played one of his games knows it’s not all fun and games for the lovable plumber. He is constantly falling down bottomless pits, getting eaten by giant mutant mushrooms, and otherwise killing himself all while trying to save a princess who is apparently missing the part of the brain that allows one to avoid getting kidnapped. With that in mind, your estimation question is this: “How many times has Mario died in all of the videogames ever played?”
*NOTE: I make no pretenses that my answer is correct or even close. Your answer may very well be a better estimate than mine. In fact, your estimate may even be exactly right and you still may not win the contest if somebody else's answer is closer to mine. Sorry about that. This is the best way I could come up with to pick a winner and I'm not changing it now. Like any good game, there's an element of luck required even if you do have great skill. With that disclaimer out of the way, good luck and happy calculatings!