Let’s Print the Internet

By Deane Barker on March 11, 2006

Nine Year Old Aims to Print the Internet: While this is a heartwarming story of a town rallying around a youngster with a goal, it’s also a stunning waste of resources.

Dorothy and Dwight Darnell, were surprised last week when they discovered reams of pages printed from the Internet in their son Cody’s bedroom and learned of his plan to print a hard copy of all of the Internet to win a $50 bet with his seventeen year old cousin, Mikey Darnell-Wilson.

The bet came about during the main course of the family’s Thanksgiving lunch after a heated debate between Cody and Mikey about the size of the Internet and the feasibility of printing it out. Under the terms of the bet, Cody has six months to complete the printing and if Mikey can find a site on the Internet which has not been printed he wins the bet, if he can’t he loses.

He’s seriously trying this. And the townsfolk and business of Springwood, North Dakota are all pitching in.

Someone do the math here —

At one time, Google clamied to have 8 billion pages in its index. This kid is printing eight pages to a sheet of paper, but he still has to print one billion sheets of paper.

This is two million of those 500-sheet packages you pick up at Office Max. How much does one of those weigh? Five pounds? Okay, so this kid is going to generate 10 million pounds — five thousand tons — of paper.

By comparison, an M1A1 Main Battle Tank weighs 64 tons.

Good luck with that.



  1. I just checked Office Max’s website, and the cheapest ream (500 sheets) of laser paper they offer is $4.99. If your math is right, he’s gonna use $9,980,000 worth of paper to win a $50 bet. Factor in the cost of ink or toner, and Cody loses big time either way. Makes me wonder if Mikey’s dad runs the local office supply store.

    Cody’s Mom & Dad ought to just pay the $50 and be done with it.

  2. The HP LaserJet 4250n prints about 45 pages per minute. That is 64800 pages per day (assuming he does not ever sleep). Cody needs 123456 days = 338 years o finish his task. Since he only has 6 months to do it, he would need 676 of those HP printers, and at $1200 a pop, thats just $811,200 worth of printers. Cody you better start working on getting a Google/HP/Office Max Sponsorship.

  3. And none of the above math accounts for the fact that some pages are multiple print pages long. I’ve had printouts of a single webpage that were a dozen or more print pages (or, in Cody’s case, a page and a half).

  4. I think the MetaFilter commenters figured out this was a hoax.

    I was hoping so, for the honor of all of us North Dakotans out there.

    Besides, I have never heard of Springwood, ND and neither has Google Maps so it can’t be true.

  5. Did you notice that http://www.cool.com.au acknowledges the story to be a spoof? The link is available from the original story.

    Did a Nine Year Old Really Try to Print the Internet?

    There are many spoof news sites, http://www.theonion.com being a prime example, and in general, people are well aware that they contain works of fiction before they visit then read the stories and laugh appropriately. But what happens if fictional news stories aren’t presented with a warning like “hey guys, this is just a joke”? Many people seem to unquestioningly believe what they read on the Internet (or in the print media or what they see on television). Where has their capacity for critical thinking gone?

    Where, indeed.

  6. In my defense, this story is completely plausible.

    It’s not plausible that he could actually print the Internet, but it’s well within the realm of possibility that a kid his age might come up with this idea, try to do it, and have the town rally around him and pat him on the back until he realizes it just isn’t going to work, at which point everyone says, “Well, gosh, good try anyway, Billy. Keep shooting for your dreams, slugger.”

    I don’t doubt for a second that this stuff happens in small town America all the time.

  7. I don’t doubt for a second that this stuff happens in small town America all the time.

    But not in North Dakota!

  8. The trick Cody should try for is to double-or-nothin’ his bet. He should get his cousin to write out the bet, they both sign it, and he bets double-or-nothin’ that he can get more than $100 for the contract on eBay, with ’em splitting the winnings. Or SOMETHING sane. Otherwise, the new highest point in north dakota is going to be the landfill (read: pile of paper) he creates doing this. Stupid damn nodaks, anyway…

  9. Let’s just be glad he didn’t bet Mikey that he could drain all the blood from the local townsfolk. What a mess.

  10. wait till he gets to goatse,4chan, 7chan, pain olympics, 2girls1cup, lemon party, meat spin, the rest of the horros or the internet

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