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The biggest shortcoming of the human race?

December 31, 2011

How do you ‘spell’ fifteen billion (just a random figure) in numbers? And how much is 18,4 quintillion exactly? Especially when I hear about big numbers in the media, like the US debt for instance, it dazzles me immediately (See also post “How much am I?“). But it gets exponentially worse when these numbers start moving, e.g. when we start talking about predictions on how these numbers will change over time. E.g. How much would fifteen billion be in five years if it would increase by two percent every year. How many grains would you have in the last square of a chessboard if you put one grain on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, and go on doubling the amount of grains for each next square of the chessboard? To say “an awful lot” is probably just as helpful as the actual answer.

9E represents the number 18,4 quintillion. Source Wikipedia

To feel a bit better about myself, I every now and then watch this video of a professor telling me I’m not the only one that has problems with this.


From → How much?

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