Thursday, May 6, 2010

Special Guest Dan Meyer

Dan Meyer is a blogger, tweeter, and teacher.  He recently gave a very nice TED talk on math education.  Dan writes,

“I'm very curious how many individual characters I'd find in the Sunday issue of the New York Times.”

I’m assuming Dan means “characters” as in letters and punctuation rather than “characters” as in Snoopy, Marmaduke, and Sarah Palin.  If so, then the calculation is straightforward.  The Sunday Times has about 10 different sections (Arts, Book Review, Sports, etc.)  Each section has about 20 pages.  Using today’s front page as a guide, we can see that there are about 6 columns per page.  Each line has about 30 characters and each column has about 90 lines.  Multiplying these together we get,

(10 sections) · (20 pages/section) · (6 columns/page)
· (90 lines/column) · (30 characters per line)
=  3.2×106 characters.

There are about 3 million characters in the Sunday issue of the New York Times.  Thanks for the question, Dan!

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