9853

The Marching Chinese

In 1910, Ripley's Believe It or Not claimed, "If all the Chinese in the world were to march four abreast past a given point they would never finish passing, though they marched forever and ever." Try for yourself to see if this is true, adjusting country, rank size and spacing, and marching speed.

SNAPSHOTS

  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]

DETAILS

This Demonstration uses Mathematica's built-in function CountryData for the current population estimate and the annual fractional growth estimate. It estimates how long it would take the entire population of a country to march past a given spot.
The number of people marching who have yet to pass a given spot at time in years is .
is the country's initial population.
, where is the population growth minus the people passing per year.
The number of people passing per year is a function of the marching speed, rank spacing, and number of people per rank. For marching speed, a quick march is 120 beats per minute, a slow march is 60, and a double march is 180. Rank spacing in the US military is 40 inches.
The idea of a country's entire population marching has stuck in the public imagination, and served as partial inspiration for Cyril Kornbluth's 1951 science-fiction story "The Marching Morons".
Reference
[1] C. M. Kornbluth, "The Marching Morons," Galaxy, 2(1), 1951 pp. 128–158. archive.org/details/galaxymagazine-1951-04.
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.









 
RELATED RESOURCES
Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and
interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Step-by-step Solutions »
Walk through homework problems one step at a time, with hints to help along the way.
Wolfram Problem Generator »
Unlimited random practice problems and answers with built-in Step-by-step solutions. Practice online or make a printable study sheet.
Wolfram Language »
Knowledge-based programming for everyone.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2014 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+