One, two, three, four, five, six....
June 19, 2007 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Jeremy Harper is counting to one million. And blogging about it.
posted by BitterOldPunk (90 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes. Yes he is.
posted by dersins at 5:42 PM on June 19, 2007


Oh.
posted by Flunkie at 5:43 PM on June 19, 2007


I can't help thinking that this will be a slow descent into insanity. The thought process will be something like this:
1,742: sigh
7,184: I wonder if this was such a good idea.
53,182: This sucks.
89,485: For a minute there I thought I was on 890,485.
185,385: Why?
284,428: WHY?
521,482: eep norp! balgle!
683,591: aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhggg!! kill! kill!
posted by rolypolyman at 5:46 PM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Does anyone have his phone number? I'd like to call and yell "1973! 8675309! 55999!"
posted by ninjew at 5:49 PM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


I tried this in 7th grade only in a notebook, or, well, a lot of notebooks and I was aiming for a googleplex, since my math teacher said it was impossible. She was right. But I did fill up a lot of notebooks with numbers and cemented a reputation for serious weirdness so it was a year well spent. He should just fill up the blog with the numbers himself; it would be more or less just as interesting.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:58 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Good god, doesn't he have something better to do?
posted by doctor_negative at 5:59 PM on June 19, 2007


One of the funnier Trigger Happy TV* pranks went a bit like this. Dom Joly went to an open-mike poetry reading and said that he would like to read a poem he had written called "One Million". He began, savouring each word: "One. Two. Three, four. Five. Six! Seven ..."

He had got to about 20 when the sounds of discontent from the audience became clearly audible - I forget how far he managed to get before the prank was ended.

* A 1990s reheat of Candid Camera on British TV.
posted by WPW at 6:06 PM on June 19, 2007


WPW, when I saw the rerun on comedy central, I seem to remember him getting somewhere past one hundred before they made him stop.
posted by shmegegge at 6:08 PM on June 19, 2007


Now you know how all us IT people feel.... DELETE your damn files!!!!!!!! 126.7 GB, 126.8 GB., 126.9 GB, and on and on...
posted by Debaser626 at 6:10 PM on June 19, 2007


I counted to 1000 once. There was a stop watch and a tape recorder. It took about twenty minutes. A little less.

Tension built all the way through the 900s, my "one thousand" looming larger with every passing numeral. I imagined how delicious it was going to taste as I said it and how discomfiting it was going to sound in the tinny little tape-deck speakers when I played it back later, it was gonna be the best "one thousand" ever, the only one I'd ever actually earned, and here it comes I'm grinning so hard it hurts "nine-hunnerd-ninety-eight ... nine-hunnerd-ninety-nine ... one hunnerd!

"No wait...! One thousand!! A thousand! ... Aww, damn. Aww, Christ, turn that thing off."
posted by notyou at 6:11 PM on June 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


Isn't this kind of boring?
Couldn't he spend the time it would take to count that high thinking up one great idea that would actually be compelling to watch?

It's true, however, that the internet is the great democrat - giving everyone the chance to turn their one great idea into internet celebritydom.

I wish he'd taken the time to think up some kind of drama.

For instance, if at the end of counting up to a million he killed himself - that would be compelling.

If he broadcast a real-time video of himself having sex with his girlfriend - counting up to one million thrusts - that would be compelling.

If he held his breath until he passed out - that would be compelling.

This.
Not so much.
posted by Sully at 6:15 PM on June 19, 2007


It would be great if he took various tests of his reflexes and IQ before and after. I suspect this will make him measurably dumber.
posted by mullingitover at 6:16 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that again! In a short while he'll be the buzz of the town and he'll appear on Oprah and it'll all turn out to be a sack of lies.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:17 PM on June 19, 2007


Poet Charles Bernstein counting to 100
posted by treepour at 6:18 PM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


PUG!!!
posted by jonson at 6:20 PM on June 19, 2007


It's good to see someone so dedicated to making the world a better place.
posted by The World Famous at 6:22 PM on June 19, 2007


Christ, what an asshole!
posted by loquacious at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2007


I'm picking my nose, AND BLOGGING ABOUT IT!!!
posted by edgeways at 6:42 PM on June 19, 2007


20 minutes to count to 1000? I made a bet with my 6 year old that I could get to 1000 on a 5 minute errand. Not only did I win, but I got 200 more in besides.
posted by DU at 6:49 PM on June 19, 2007


wanted to say something intelligent, unfortunately I could only think "what a pretentious wanker" (and I needed a spellchecker for pretentious)
posted by Mave_80 at 6:55 PM on June 19, 2007


I'll go one better. I'll count to a million and NOT blog about it.
posted by pompomtom at 6:55 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]



awesome:~ apple$ cat count.sh
#!/bin/bash
count=1
LIMIT=1000001
while [ "$count" != "$LIMIT" ]
do
echo $count
let "count += 1"
done

echo "ZOMG THAT WAS AMAZING!!!1"

exit 0


I'm going to run this script, then I'm going to spend all summer blogging about my experience counting to a million.

Next summer I'm going for a BILLION. Sorry ladies, I'm taken.
posted by mullingitover at 6:58 PM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


i'm going to NOT count to a million, and NOT blog about it.
posted by snofoam at 7:00 PM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm going to run this script, then I'm going to spend all summer blogging about my experience counting to a million.

Dude.
#!/bin/sh
/usr/bin/jot 1000000
echo "ZOMG THAT WAS so not amazing. Eleventy."
And for whatever record there may be....
$ time jot 1000000
<SNIP a million numbers>
real    1m0.89s
user    0m5.44s
sys     0m7.58s
It goes faster if you dump stdout to /dev/null, but that's hardly counting, is it?
posted by eriko at 7:08 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


He just appears to be mumbling to himself, or talking to the female in the room. He's certainly not COUNTING.

I feel cheated.
posted by desjardins at 7:11 PM on June 19, 2007


Or maybe someone really provoked his ire, and he wants to cool down a bit.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:12 PM on June 19, 2007


heh. i got bored at 25. unexpected accent.

i sense a moderate case of OCD. 5 bucks says he doesn't finish and hopefully is happier for it.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:17 PM on June 19, 2007


When I checked the website, he was responding to email, and the counter was at 22000. If he was actually serious about counting to a million, he'd still be counting. You don't just count to 22000 in a couple days and then stop to respond to your fans. Did David Blaine climb out of the cold block of ice or stop being buried alive halfway through it so he could go talk to the audience? NO.

David Blaine wouldn't stop after 22000, and Blaine's a loser. So what's that make this Harper guy? He's like, less than a loser. It's like when the million man march was short by a couple hundred thousand people. Only, David Blaine wasn't in it so it didn't suck as much.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:22 PM on June 19, 2007


Let's pair him up with the douchebag who bet his life savings on a roulette spin.

Then feed them to wild dogs or something. That, I'd watch.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:27 PM on June 19, 2007


(1..1000*1000).each { |i| puts i.to_s }
posted by b1tr0t at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just hope he stays with it long enough to go completely batshit insane on camera. Given his already flagging commitment, this probably won't happen. Oh well.

I think maybe his point is that 1,000,000 is a really big number. Or else it's a statement on the ultimate futility of all possible human endeavors, in which case he should take Sully's advice and blow his brains out at the end.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:34 PM on June 19, 2007


Imagine that you were granted some extraordinary skill, talent, or ability that put you ahead of 99.98% of this planet's population. Smarter, faster, whatever. If you got together with your similarly talented peers, this guy's 90 day epic would be the head count, and the few seconds it takes to say "four hundred and seventy six thousand, three hundred and twelve" would be your monument. Spending five minutes with each of your comrades would consume a decade of your life.

Of course, only an insufferably pompous ass would limit his range to only those most like himself. If he wanted to spend the last 60 years of his life meeting everyone currently on this earth, he would have only a third of second to look each of them in the face before moving on. And, by the time he finished, billions of new people would have been born.

This is the fundamental problem of the internet. Attention-seeking, masturbatory Youtubery like counting to a million on camera is a both a symptom and a cause.

Favorite-seeking Metafilter comments wittily dismissing an irrelevant person's desperate scream for recognition are totally kosher, though.
posted by Ictus at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2007


Can we talk about the return on the investment now?
posted by HuronBob at 7:36 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


He'll never finish. The amount of time it takes to say each number will grow and he'll just wear out.
posted by dsquid at 7:37 PM on June 19, 2007


Curses! A man who has the same name as me is making an attempt at "fame"!

What can I do to eclipse my doppelganger?

I know! I will create a tool that can count to a million in mere seconds!

For x = 1 to 1000000
print x
next x

I win!
posted by JDHarper at 7:37 PM on June 19, 2007


It goes a lot faster if you use a larger step size--or, better yet, count geometrically instead of arithmetically:

1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 1000000

What do I win? :D
posted by Many bubbles at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2007


One way to make this a little bit more interesting is to start placing bets on what number he'll lose his voice to the point he can't continue.
posted by incurable at 7:39 PM on June 19, 2007


Also, I wonder what percentage of numbers he'll screw up and not realize it?
posted by Many bubbles at 7:41 PM on June 19, 2007


I don't see what the big deal is. I counted to a million, just now, really fast. There. I did it again.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2007


Like that guy who calculated pi for twenty years but screwed up a digit in the middle so all the rest after that were bad too. Or maybe it was log tables? I can't recall the details.

Regardless, that must have sucked.
posted by smackfu at 7:44 PM on June 19, 2007


What do I win?

YOFB.
posted by pompomtom at 7:47 PM on June 19, 2007


In 1965 Opalka, Roman (b 1931) began the Counted Paintings ( example from 1965), a lifelong task of painting numbers in sequence beginning with number one and extending in theory to infinity. Each work in the series, entitled Detail, has the same dimensions (1.96*1.35 m) and a grey background, with numbers painted in white, in even rows, from edge to edge; the intensity of the white lessens gradually, as the quantity of acrylic paint on the brush diminishes. The first Detail shows numbers from 1 to 35328, the second begins with number 35329. Every five years the artist adds a little white to the grey, so that the background will eventually be as white as the numbers....

He expects to be painting virtually in white on white by the time he reaches 7 777 777, about a decade away at the current rate: 'My objective is to get up to the white on white and still be alive."
posted by RMD at 8:01 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


"He has a hand-held button he will push with each number to keep his place."

I predict a severe case of Atari thumb.
posted by Liosliath at 8:02 PM on June 19, 2007


I think this is an elaborate satire on human existence. When you think about it, I mean, when you really think about it, aren't we all just counting to a million online and blogging about it?
posted by RokkitNite at 8:02 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


He could at least make it more interesting by singing it. While counting bottles of beer. On the wall. Or something.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:04 PM on June 19, 2007


It would be cooler if he was naked. and female.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:05 PM on June 19, 2007


One liner. A script to write the script. You can read it, and then blog about it, and then we'll all snark at you.
 for i in `jot 1000000` ; do number $1 ; echo; done
Now, it's homework time!

Problem: Using bash or ksh (88 or 93, you're choice), modify the above to output roman numerals.

Extra credit -- add a switch for 4=IIII or IV, etc.

Extra extra credit -- add a switch to output a script to read (e.g. 18=XVIII = Ex Vee Eye Eye Eye). Bonus, echo "on a big rig" at the end.

Extra^3 credit: add a switch to output Ancient Egyptian numerals.
posted by eriko at 8:09 PM on June 19, 2007


I've been wondering where it would be. But this is where I put my foot down. I will not click on that link. I know I'd only have to spend 10 seconds there, but I just won't do it this time.
posted by milarepa at 8:09 PM on June 19, 2007


I have a feeling that by the time he's done, he will be singing it...

Maybe I'm a sucker, but I think this is really interesting. It's an exercise in willpower, and I know I've publicized projects before to shame myself into completing them. There will almost certainly be a time in the near future when he just really, really wants to give up, and I'm curious if the public pressure will keep him in the game.
posted by phooky at 8:16 PM on June 19, 2007


I'm curious if the public pressure will keep him in the game. ....or just yell ...JUMP! JUUUMMMPPP!!! .... JJJJUUUMMMPPP!!!
posted by RMD at 8:20 PM on June 19, 2007


I'll trade him a red paperclip if he makes it to a million.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:26 PM on June 19, 2007



Poet Charles Bernstein counting to 100
posted by treepour at 6:18 PM on June 19 [3 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


I think I just had an aneurysm.
posted by lalochezia at 8:36 PM on June 19, 2007


A million thank you's for Andy Warhol
posted by tellurian at 8:41 PM on June 19, 2007


Like that guy who calculated pi for twenty years but screwed up a digit in the middle so all the rest after that were bad too.

That would be William Shanks. Think how much faster he'd have found his mistake if he'd been blogging the whole computation!
posted by escabeche at 8:57 PM on June 19, 2007


During one segment of the classic strip Pogo, a couple of Cockney bugs named Alf and Reg mistook Porkypine for a woman, and at one point one of them says "a thousand pardons, mum". Porkypine says, "OK, let's have 'em."

And he actually has to reel off "Pardon me" a thousand times. Eventually the other one makes the mistake of saying the same thing, and then he has to do it too.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:48 PM on June 19, 2007


Wow no one really mentions that hes alreadying raised, by my eastimates 5000 + dollars, in two days!!! I bet hes able to raise at least 100,000 before he quits
posted by crewshell at 9:56 PM on June 19, 2007


1
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 10:15 PM on June 19, 2007


million
posted by dersins at 10:43 PM on June 19, 2007


He just appears to be mumbling to himself, or talking to the female in the room. He's certainly not COUNTING.

Who says he has to speak each number? You can count to 1023 on your fingers, assuming you have the standard complement of ten of them. It's faster and less fatiguing than counting aloud—you can knock off eight numbers per second thataway. I do it all the time.

Friend of mine counted to 1023 in this way at least daily for a week or so. Took a few minutes. If you were willing to spend serious time on it, you could reach a million in well under a year.

(Details: It's a binary system, of course. Least significant digits are on the thumb side of each hand, and on the dominant hand overall. Touching the table counts for 1, not touching counts for 0. And adding one is just lowering the least significant raised finger, and raising everything below it. Easy-peasy.)
posted by eritain at 10:48 PM on June 19, 2007


Favorite-seeking Metafilter comments wittily dismissing an irrelevant person's desperate scream for recognition are totally kosher, though.

I bet that was dissapointing. </small

posted by IronLizard at 11:08 PM on June 19, 2007


oops
posted by IronLizard at 11:09 PM on June 19, 2007


In ancient times, when I was a boy (about 8), I endeavored to write, with an actual ink pen, all the numbers from 1 to 1000. I had some silly notion (nice thing about being 8, you can have tons of fun with 'silly notions') that I wanted to make sure "they were all there". LOL

Then my mom found my papers, together with some writing of a more serious nature, and declared all of it a "waste of paper". The fact that I can recount this experience is testimony to the fact that it was not without impact. Mom taught me my lesson! No more goal-oriented behavior for me! (part of the experiment was with goals, a new idea I came up with).
posted by Goofyy at 11:18 PM on June 19, 2007


IronLizard: I weren't talking about myself, sir.
posted by Ictus at 12:29 AM on June 20, 2007


2
posted by phaedon at 12:44 AM on June 20, 2007


Pshaw.

I counted to a million in googolplexes just now and finished last week. Now if I can only get those damned charities to pay up...
posted by Sparx at 2:38 AM on June 20, 2007


Wake me when it's almost over.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:14 AM on June 20, 2007


3
posted by seanyboy at 4:36 AM on June 20, 2007


4
posted by MrMustard at 4:39 AM on June 20, 2007


5
posted by davey_darling at 5:25 AM on June 20, 2007


6
posted by yeti at 5:32 AM on June 20, 2007


7
posted by Space Coyote at 5:48 AM on June 20, 2007


I couldn't give any less of a shit.
posted by autodidact at 5:59 AM on June 20, 2007


From that link above...
--
In 1968 Opalka introduced a tape recorder, speaking each number into the microphone as he paints it, and he also began photographing himself standing before the canvas after each day's work, a ritual bookkeeping of time passing.
--

So it looks like this is re-hashed idea, completely. However, since the Net is involved, I'm fairly sure this new, improved idea is completely patentable.

He's also got Noah K. beat by about 30 years.

And finally...if you have the pleasure of living in the NYC area, his work is on display there for another 1010 days.
posted by wah at 7:35 AM on June 20, 2007


Eight!
posted by drezdn at 7:51 AM on June 20, 2007


Niner.
posted by Bugg at 8:04 AM on June 20, 2007


9.
posted by Stynxno at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2007


10.
posted by Stynxno at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2007


11.
posted by Stynxno at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2007


skip a few
posted by Stynxno at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2007


1,000,000.
posted by Stynxno at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2007


So, I see a disturbing trend. It takes this form:

X is doing Y... and blogging about it!

Where X is someone you may or may not have heard or care about. And Y is something incredibly mundane, stupid, tedious, derivitive or attention-whorey, or maybe actually interesting and/or inspiring, but more often than not the former.

Is this what culture has come to? Are we really that voyeuristic?

Sigh.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:42 AM on June 20, 2007


Yes it has, and yes we are.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:48 AM on June 20, 2007


I'm going to count to a google! Not blog about it, and then blog about not blogging about it. Then I'm going to count to eleven. Blog about it, and then blog about blogging about blogging about not blogging to counting to a google. YAY!!!111!!


Seriously, this guy is a fuckwad.

oh and 1,000,001 HA!
posted by Debaser626 at 9:04 AM on June 20, 2007


"... AND BLOGGING ABOUT IT" IS NOW A MEME.

Wait, this is 4chan, right?
posted by alby at 9:29 AM on June 20, 2007



In ancient times, when I was a boy (about 8), I endeavored to write, with an actual ink pen, all the numbers from 1 to 1000. I had some silly notion (nice thing about being 8, you can have tons of fun with 'silly notions') that I wanted to make sure "they were all there". LOL


I had this very same paranoid delusion suspicion. It took a lot of convincing to persuade me that numbers could never be lost or forgotten or stolen. I think it was actually some cursed kid show that planted this notion in my head and made me quite worried about the number '7' which is quite dear to me as it plays a prominent role in my birthday.

Sometimes to this day I still get this funny feeling that if anybody ever cared to look it would turn out that hey, the number after 731,456,987,233 is missing!
posted by nixerman at 9:40 AM on June 20, 2007


Don't worry nixerman, 731,456,987,235 is right there, just like always.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:00 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


So much sophisticated integrated technology at our fingertips, the sort of machines and networks people would have stepped over each other to possess a mere fifty years ago....and this is what we're doing with it.
posted by deern the headlice at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2007


In Mathematica:

Range[10^6]
posted by Wolfdog at 2:49 PM on June 20, 2007


His resolve is already waning.

We absolutely must pay a hooker to distract him.

How much you want to bet he stops counting then?
posted by misha at 7:31 PM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


(1..1000*1000).each { |i| puts i.to_s }
posted by b1tr0t at 9:29

Thanks for sending me on a wild goose chase b1. I thought I could one-up you with the fantastic
puts *1..10**6
however, my results were problematic:
irb(main):055:0> puts *1..10**61234SystemStackError: stack level too deep        from (irb):5:in `puts'        from (irb):5irb(main):056:0>
As it turns out, I was calling puts with a million parameters (e.g. puts(1,2,3,[snip],1000000)). I did some binary chopping and it turns out the maximum number of parameters you can put in a ruby method (at least on my system) is 644,205.
However:
puts [*1..10**6]
worked quite nicely. As trivial as this may be, I believe it to be infinitely more interesting than some twat counting to a million.
posted by anomie at 8:01 PM on June 20, 2007


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