A View from the Back of the Envelope top

Lots of dots
Getting a feel for big numbers
A dot for every second in the day
A dot for each day

Dots can help you grasp big numbers.

Here is 100 x 100 = 100 (1 ; one ) dot..

Here are 101 x 101 = 102 (100 ; one hundred ) dots...

Here are 102 x 102 = 104 (10,000 ; ten thousand ) dots...

Here are 103 x 103 = 106 (1,000,000 ) one million dots.

Here is A dot for every second in the day(includes a clock!)

Here is A dot for each day.


How many year-dots old are you?
How many people-dots are in your building?
How many seconds-dots since you last ate?
If you live for 50 more years, how many day-dots is that?

You can color and group the dots...
If each dot is a day of your life, you can circle your first year of school, etc...
If each dot is n dollars, show how some budget is spent..
The age distribution of some population...

Graph paper is another way to play these games...

(Your suggestions and links are welcome.)


The MegaPenny Project
Visualising Numbers

A View from the Back of the Envelope
Comments encouraged. - Mitchell N Charity <mcharity@lcs.mit.edu>

  Do browsers have any difficulty with the `million dots' page?
  Printers do 300 or 600 dots per inch.
    So 22 or 90 thousand per in2 (single dots separated by single dots).
    With 8 x 11 = 88 in2 paper, thats 2 or 8 million dots.
    So one could easily do a million-dot sheep of paper.

  A dynamic generation service would be neat.  Colors, clumped&scattered, 
  Postscript or image for a million dot sheet of paper.

 2001-Jun-20   Added Mpenny link.  Thanks to a reader!  Also VisNum link.
 2001-Apr-14   Added `A dot for every second in the day'.
 1998.Apr.29   Very slight appearance change.
 1998.Mar.15   Created.
               Thanks to barricelli@umbsky.cc.umb.edu for the suggestion.