February 04, 2010

Big Numbers

Big numbers seem to be popping up a lot lately. One million, billion, trillion, even quadrillion. A lot of the words just sound like the childish term 'bajillion'. I don't have any more concept of a quadrillion than I do a jillion or a bajillion.

The one thing that has helped was a time comparison.

One million seconds ago? That's 12 days ago.
One billion seconds? More than 31 years ago.
One trillion seconds? More than 32,000 years ago. Uh-huh. That's 30,000 B.C. or earlier.
One quadrillion seconds? 32.8 million years ago.

I can't casually read articles about the national debt ceiling being raised by another 1.9 trillion. I keep seeing it as 32,000 years' worth of seconds.

Please excuse me while I go contemplate the fewer than 1.122 billion seconds I've been alive. At a penny a second, I'd already be a multi-millionaire. Oy.

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