Daily Archives: August 21, 2011

Sideband #40: Chessboard of Rice

I recently mentioned a parable about grains of rice and a chessboard. If you were industrious enough to try your own interweb search for [parable 64 squares grains] you might be ahead of me. Or you may have known the parable already. For the rest of you, here’s the deal.

Stripped of the narrative, it’s about taking a chessboard and placing a single grain of rice in the first square (in some versions, it’s a grain of wheat). In the second square, place two grains of rice—double the amount in the first square. In the third square use double the grains of the second square. For each square on the chessboard, use twice as many grains of rice as used for the previous square.

I’ll come back to the punchline, but I stripped the narrative. Let me fix that.

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