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Making sense of big numbers

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Rod Renshaw24/07/2020 18:47:58
230 forum posts
2 photos

I heard a snatch of someone on the radio the other day explaining a method of understanding big numbers which I thought might be of interest in these days of huge sums of money being used or promised for recovery from coronavirus or huge National Debts etc.

The model is based on the idea of using one second of time as a basic unit.

So, 1 second lasts one second.

A thousand seconds lasts 16.6 minutes.

A million seconds lasts 12 days.

A billion seconds lasts 32 years.

And a trillion seconds lasts 31,709 years.!

So when the politicians talk glibly of millions for this and billions for that and debts of trillions, it makes me think how big these sums really are

(All figures rounded and subject to correction by the usual suspects.)

Rod

Brian Wood24/07/2020 19:43:38
2317 forum posts
37 photos

Hello Rod,

Daunting isn't it?

Regards Brian

Martin Whittle24/07/2020 20:21:03
97 forum posts
12 photos

And the universe is getting on towards half of a quintillion seconds old.

Another odd fact: as a rough guide, many animals live for around one billion heartbeats. I suppose we do quite well at usually over 2 billion.

Martin Kyte24/07/2020 20:29:51
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2155 forum posts
38 photos

So anything that raises your heartrate shortens your life, like excercise, women . . . . . .

:0)

Martin

Edited By Martin Kyte on 24/07/2020 20:30:21

Steve Neighbour24/07/2020 21:06:18
74 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Martin Whittle on 24/07/2020 20:21:03:

And the universe is getting on towards half of a quintillion seconds old.

Another odd fact: as a rough guide, many animals live for around one billion heartbeats. I suppose we do quite well at usually over 2 billion.

I hope its a lot more than THAT surprise

My ticker usually averages around 75 bpm (resting) and at just over 62 I'm already well over 2.5 billion, I obvioisly need to s-l-o-w down.

I'll let shmbo know that her 'jobs list' is postponed due to the impact it's having on my longevity !!

JohnF24/07/2020 22:01:42
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1034 forum posts
145 photos

Trouble is what is a TRUE Billion ?

It was when I went to school a Billion = bi - million i.e. 1 million million 1,000.000.000.000 but it was I believe Mr Wilson who in the 1970's ? decided to devalue it to 1.000,000,000 i.e. one thousand million !

The same logic applied to 1 trillion = 1 million, million million !!

Guess we are stuck with the new order !

Nicholas Wheeler 124/07/2020 22:13:02
445 forum posts
25 photos

JohnF, it was done to appease the Americans.

It's also the real reason we went metric, as the sceptics flatly refused to agree to using our, bigger, gallon.

JohnF24/07/2020 23:07:02
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1034 forum posts
145 photos

Nicholas it’s the Pilgrim Fathers fault —- took the wrong bucket for the gallon ! Can’t spell proper either 😇

Ady124/07/2020 23:19:55
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4136 forum posts
576 photos

Money is very relative compared to time, relatively speaking

Hopper25/07/2020 00:15:57
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5055 forum posts
114 photos
Posted by Ady1 on 24/07/2020 23:19:55:

Money is very relative compared to time, relatively speaking

Time is more valuable than money.

You can always get more money but you can't get more time.

Edited By Hopper on 25/07/2020 00:17:09

pgk pgk25/07/2020 05:28:20
2024 forum posts
290 photos
Posted by Hopper on 25/07/2020 00:15:57:

Time is more valuable than money.

You can always get more money but you can't get more time.

Edited By Hopper on 25/07/2020 00:17:09

Easy - get both - rob the magistrate

pgk

Nicholas Farr25/07/2020 07:16:25
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2547 forum posts
1210 photos

Hi, in the last few years of the company that I worked for, for many years, we used to get a regional brief once a year about the companies costs and forecasts etc. All the figures were talked in billions with the odd trillion here and there, never heard the million mentioned once let alone thousands.

Regards Nick.

Gary Wooding25/07/2020 07:20:21
776 forum posts
196 photos

People also talk glibly about the storage size of the disks in their computers. One terabyte, which doesn't sound very big, is actually enormous.

Imagine taking a cigarette paper and laying it flat on the floor. Tick the first byte of your terabyte disk. Do the same with another cigarette paper and tick the second byte. Carry on going until every byte is ticked. How tall is the pile of cigarette papers?

Before you actually work it out, take a guess. 25ft? 500mtrs? 1Km? Ask other people to guess.

.

.

.

If you use the decimal version of a terabyte (ie. 10**12) it's actually almost 16000 miles.

But if you use the binary version (ie. 2**40) then it's almost 17500 miles.

 

(corrected finger problem)

Edited By Gary Wooding on 25/07/2020 07:40:01

larry phelan 125/07/2020 08:00:31
903 forum posts
17 photos

What about flea bites ?cheeky

Paul L25/07/2020 08:20:38
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49 forum posts
24 photos

Take a look at this calculator for how long it would take to break a password by trying all combination of letters, numbers etc. Its quite enlightening!

Password Haystack linky

John Hinkley25/07/2020 09:19:14
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1013 forum posts
344 photos

I was listening to a broadcast of "The infinite monkey cage", the other day, co-hosted by Prof. Brian Cox. The subject was "When will the universe end?".  (Cheery, eh?)  One of the contributors was talking in terms of 10 to the power of 50, 100 and up to 300. Now those are SERIOUSLY big numbers.  Not something I'll worry about.  I'll be glad to last another 10 to the power of 1 !

John

 

Edited By John Hinkley on 25/07/2020 09:19:52 for errant comma removal.

Edited By John Hinkley on 25/07/2020 09:20:33

Nigel Bennett25/07/2020 09:28:08
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379 forum posts
11 photos

I liked the story about a chap (It may have been a story on Monkey Cage) who was explaining to his audience that the sun was going to envelop the earth in a few billion years.

One chap stuck his hand up and asked, "Did you say billion or million?"

"Billion."

"Oh - phew! Thank goodness for that. I was sure you'd said million."

Hopper25/07/2020 12:56:14
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5055 forum posts
114 photos

Is that like if a million monkeys sit at a million typewriters for sufficient millions of years, one will eventually write The Lord's Prayer?

David Davies 825/07/2020 20:17:23
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146 forum posts
9 photos

Hopper,

IIRC it was the entire works of Shakespear not The Lord's Prayer!

Cheers

Dave

vintage engineer26/07/2020 09:13:54
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254 forum posts
1 photos

I am 62 and my resting heart rate is around 45! Does that mean I am going live to over a 100?

Posted by Steve Neighbour on 24/07/2020 21:06:18:
Posted by Martin Whittle on 24/07/2020 20:21:03:

And the universe is getting on towards half of a quintillion seconds old.

Another odd fact: as a rough guide, many animals live for around one billion heartbeats. I suppose we do quite well at usually over 2 billion.

I hope its a lot more than THAT surprise

My ticker usually averages around 75 bpm (resting) and at just over 62 I'm already well over 2.5 billion, I obvioisly need to s-l-o-w down.

I'll let shmbo know that her 'jobs list' is postponed due to the impact it's having on my longevity !!

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