I. October 2021.
It all started last year when Jonathan H. ’25 asked Nicole H. ’22 and I quote, “Do you have time to waste?” He pulled up the iafisher.com website which features a series of geography quizzes regarding how many cities you can name in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa or the entire world.
They tried to name all the cities in the US. I wasn’t there for this but he describes it as easily the craziest four hours. They completely decimated west New York and Jess H. ’24 named the craziest cities in Arizona.
II. Last week.
This came back around again when David H. ’25 asked Jonathan if he could name all the major US sports teams. This included baseball, basketball, hockey and American football, he adds There are a lot of these and at the time, Jonathan only knew basketball. A few hours later, he had memorized all 120 of them.
III. September 17, 2022.
Saturday morning around 2:30 am, after a game of trying to name all the sports teams in which I was just a spectator, we decided to try to name all the cities in the world. The goal when we started was to get to 25% of the world population. We went through each of the continents and tried to name all the cities we could remember at 3 in the morning. At one point, Jonathan was scribbling down cities on a paper, I was going through the alphabet written down on a whiteboard trying to remember any cities I could and Alan Z. ’23 was typing in the smallest cities they knew. This included Lost Springs, WY with a total population of six people as of the 2020 census.
Around 4:13 am, we had gotten to 25% of the world population with 798 cities. Against my protests to get to 800, we stopped at 25% as we had planned.
IV. September 18, 2022.
On Sunday, before celebrating it’s a 4W tradition to celebrate the birthdays for all the people in the wing. we buy a cake, sing our own version of happy birthday and take a selfie! some people tried naming all the states in the US. They got to 33% in 2 hours.
Going through the cities we missed, we resolved to come prepared next time. We had planned for people to go over their respective areas of expertise, usually where they are from.
We advertised in the the floors in Next House are divided into two wings: East and West. i live on the west wing of the fourth floor. group chat that this would happen at 10pm on Friday in the 4W main lounge.
Misremembering the time of this great activity, I had planned to work with Holden M. ’25 from 9 till 11. Luckily, as I came back to my room, I ran into Alan and they reminded me of the correct time. I rescheduled meeting with Holden from 8:30 to 10 and went through big cities in Pakistan and India multiple times before 8:30.
VI. Now, September 24, 2022.
I got back to the lounge around 10:20pm and there was clearly a crowd. Presumably, some of the 4W people informed their friends and so we had the geography knowledge of 4W-adjacent people at our disposal too. When I walked in, some of the people were going through cities in Europe and I was, well, amazed. After a day of career fair-ing and student holiday-ing, people had come together in the main lounge for a night of Wow, isn’t this sentence the epitome of literature?
Jonathan’s laptop was connected to the TV in the lounge and he was streaming on Discord for the quarantining folks. This time, there was more order as we went through different areas and continents one at a time.
I decided it would be best if I wrote all the cities down somewhere so I started erasing the whiteboard but halfway through, Katie K. ’24 pointed out that I erased the Liechtenstein cities Andrew L. ’24 had especially prepared for and written Don’t worry, we recovered the cities.
Disappointed in myself, I resorted instead to my iPad and started writing down all the cities I could remember. I went back to my room before we got to Asia but they saved Pakistan for me. When I came back, people were going through California. Right after, I was offered the keyboard. Jonathan read out the cities from my list and I typed them in, slowly and badly. This list included Ziarat, a city with less than 800 people but not Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. After someone pointed this out, we were at around 34%.
It was past 1 am by now, meaning we had thrown all sanity out our defenestration-friendly window. I could try to write elaborate paragraphs and superfluous words to describe what happened next, but I think these snippets do a much better job than I ever can at capturing the pure chaos.
1:17 am – Jonathan picks up a brownie from the floor like you pick up someone’s abandoned sock in the laundry and asks, “Is this someone’s brownie? I will eat it.” He didn’t actually do it.
1:25 am – I finally download the mentori sticker pack that Matthew H. ’25 introduced me to and we send There’s about 30 of them in one of our common group chats.
1:29 am – “NO, WE ALREADY HAVE MOSCOW, IDAHO. WE ALREADY HAVE MOSCOW, TEXAS.”
“WE WANNA GO TO BED.”
1:30 am – Jonathan has been writing and collecting cities on a napkin. He loses one of his pens. He declares that we should build a new version of this which is better in the sense that it allows multiple people to enter the cities at the same time and hence, saves a lot of time.
1:32 am – “How can you be dumb when you are crimes?”
“There are dumb crimes.”
1:36 am – After 3 hours 31 minutes 34.24 seconds, we have successfully named 2124 cities in the world which corresponds to 36.90% of the world’s urban population! People declare their exhaustion with the current state of the website and say they would not want to do this again unless it is improved. That is, for the next group activity, we should work on improving the website.
1:57 am – We are talking about I would explain what this means but. I don't know.
2:02 am – There is some conversation about ingressive and egressive A chomping sound that has become quite prevalent around the wing.
2:05 am – Carl S. ’23: “Okay, time to download selenium.”
Apparently, we are doing it right now!
2:20 am – Alan says, “I have written my code.” Addendum by Jeffery L. ’23, “There is a Vincent, California.”
2:35 am – “We made this work!”
2:36 am – Initial testing is successful but there are some bugs if inputs are fast enough.
3:10 am – “In what situation would it make city a float?”
“In this case, we will guess the city NaN.”
Will we figure this out today? I’m pretty sure, but that’s a story for another day!
- American football, he adds back to text ↑
- it’s a 4W tradition to celebrate the birthdays for all the people in the wing. we buy a cake, sing our own version of happy birthday and take a selfie! back to text ↑
- the floors in Next House are divided into two wings: East and West. i live on the west wing of the fourth floor. back to text ↑
- Wow, isn’t this sentence the epitome of literature? back to text ↑
- Don’t worry, we recovered the cities. back to text ↑
- He didn’t actually do it. back to text ↑
- There’s about 30 of them back to text ↑
- I would explain what this means but. I don't know. back to text ↑
- A chomping sound that has become quite prevalent around the wing. back to text ↑