Jennifer Lynn Barnes (jenlyn_b) wrote,
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
jenlyn_b

Mind-Blowing Math (and Twilight)

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging much lately is that I've been working hard core on a talk that I gave today to all of the graduate students and faculty in my department (developmental psychology), as well as some visitors from other areas. Major angstress (n: extreme combination angst and stress) all around. As a general rule, I like giving talks once I start talking, but I hate it with a fiery passion every second of every day leading up TO the talk, starting several weeks in advance. So, yes- 95 slides in powerpoint, 75 minutes talking (with no notes), and probably 15-20 questions from the audience later- I'm still alive.

And the choir sang hallelujah.

Anyway, the talk was on the cognitive science of fiction (Title: "Fiction and Empathy: Narrative Cognition in Autism"- sounds fancy, yes?), and one of the ways I went about convincing an audience full of research psychologists that the human attraction to fiction is one of the most interesting and puzzling aspects of human cognition out there today, involved some CRAZY math that I came up with for the TWILIGHT series. I was basically saying "look how much time, money, and emotional energy people have invested in this one book series- and it's only ONE series... think how much bigger that number is for ALL fiction and then think how important it is to ask WHY."

So I rattled off the normal statistics- like the number of copies sold worldwide (estimates vary, but I went with 25 million ) and the amount of money the movie made in its first six weeks out ($260 million dollars).

And then I got creative.

Because I got to wondering about the amount of TIME that people had put into reading and viewing the series, and I thought it would be fun to come up with a conservative estimate. Ready to have your mind blown?

10,000.

10,000 what, you ask? Years. 10,000 years worth of man hours is the most conservative estimate I've been able to come up with for the total amount of time people have spent in Bella's world. As in, a single person could have sat around doing nothing but reading the Twilight Saga from 8,000 B.C. until now, and that would be on par with the amount of time that has been invested by readers and viewers in this series. And really? The number is probably really a lot bigger than that (math under cut).

Everyone in the audience seemed to find this pretty interesting/shocking, so I thought you guys might as well. Now that I'm done with talk-stress, I should be blogging more!



25 Million Copies X 60% (after all, not everyone who BUYS a book has necessarily read it) X 4 hours per book read (assuming that everyone is a pretty fast reader) = 60 Million Hours.

$260 Million dollars in box office sales /(estimated) $14 per ticket... X 2 hours per viewing =37 Million Hours

60 + 37 = 97 Million Hours /8,760 hours per year = 11,073 Years

Assuming that I've overestimated something, round down to 10,000.

*This doesn't factor in people reading the books multiple times, multiple people reading the same copy of a single book (loaning it out to friends, library books, etc), people who've read it illegally online, etc.

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