$1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

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$1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby sham411 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:10 am UTC

Just an example of sensible media coverage (for once). From the Daily Telegraph newspaper
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Zamfir
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Zamfir » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:42 am UTC

Bluh. The English-speaking world should their silly pretense that a billion is 1000 million and a trillion is 1000 billion.

A billion is [imath]1,000,000^2[/imath] and a trillion is [imath]1,000,000^3[/imath]. That's why there is a bi and a tri in their names.

The way you guys go on, I would almost expect you to use your thumbs and feet to measure distances.

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Goldstein » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:38 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:A billion is [imath]1,000,000^2[/imath] and a trillion is [imath]1,000,000^3[/imath]. That's why there is a bi and a tri in their names.


You're right to pick up on the 'bi' and 'tri' but your conclusion is wrong. A billion is 2 and a trillion is 3.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby ian » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:54 am UTC

Yeah, since when have the prefixes bi and tri meant to the power of?

I remember when I was a kid being taught a billion was a million million. I'm not sure when we changed to the American convention.

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Zamfir » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:24 am UTC

ian wrote:Yeah, since when have the prefixes bi and tri meant to the power of?


That's the scheme: billion, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, centillion. The American system constructs them as(1000 * 1000^prefix), while the other system constructs them as (million^prefix), with prefix-illiards for the in between values. The second system is consistent from 1 on, if you use 1000 as "zeroilliard", but the American system, which according to the Telegraph is now also the British system, only works over 1 million.

The American system would have been more consistent if it had defined a billion as 1000^2, and continued from there.

If the naming scheme is worth a front page in a newspaper, it is also worth whining about :)

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby ian » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:38 am UTC

Fair enough then.

Slightly off topic but I did think Randall's comic about this the other day was slightly ridiculous.

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Malice » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:54 am UTC

Clearly we need to buy everybody on Earth an iPod. Somebody should get on that.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby tgjensen » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:55 am UTC

oh god yes i could really use one

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Zamfir » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:01 am UTC

The article explains that one trillion English pounds equals 1000 billions. But in the next line they continue with 1,000,000,000,000 American dollars.

Now, if I didn't know what trillions were before, and really needed this page to tell me, I would now be wondering whether one trillion dollars also equals 1000 billions. And if

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Veracious Sole » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:52 pm UTC

What exactly has been dishonest about the medias coverage of the amounts of money being thrown around? I feel like I'm not getting something here. Randall's comic didn't make sense to me either.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Iv » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:11 pm UTC

Veracious Sole wrote:What exactly has been dishonest about the medias coverage of the amounts of money being thrown around? I feel like I'm not getting something here. Randall's comic didn't make sense to me either.

putting "170 something" next to "165 something" while knowing very well that the mental image people will have is "170 very big things" next to "165 big things".

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Veracious Sole » Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:13 pm UTC

Iv wrote:putting "170 something" next to "165 something" while knowing very well that the mental image people will have is "170 very big things" next to "165 big things".

Were those not the amounts used? If there were some other amounts of money used I could understand why that would be considered dishonest, but just because the numbers are similar doesn't mean their being dishonest. I don't know a single person who can't tell that there is a substantial difference between a billion dollars and a million dollars.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Allenr » Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:24 pm UTC

Veracious Sole wrote:
Iv wrote:putting "170 something" next to "165 something" while knowing very well that the mental image people will have is "170 very big things" next to "165 big things".

Were those not the amounts used? If there were some other amounts of money used I could understand why that would be considered dishonest, but just because the numbers are similar doesn't mean their being dishonest. I don't know a single person who can't tell that there is a substantial difference between a billion dollars and a million dollars.


I do, and it takes about 10 minutes to explain how dumb they are being.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby mosc » Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:14 pm UTC

Simply looking at the number of slip-ups when people refer to these numbers is a clear indication that they are not separate things in the brain of your average person. Million, Billion, and Trillion are all just "big numbers" with little differentiation. Most people don't think in powers of 10. They think in relative comparisons to other numbers/sizes they are familiar with. When you talk about numbers larger or smaller than their experience, they become interchangeably vague.

Anyway, Kudos to the newspaper for trying to educate. That used to be the job of a newspaper after all and I'm always in support of a return to that direction.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby wisnij » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:08 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Bluh. The English-speaking world should their silly pretense that a billion is 1000 million and a trillion is 1000 billion.

Yeah, well, at least our sentences have verbs. :P
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Gellert1984 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:34 am UTC

Wow a trillion doesnt buy as much as i thought it was.

also a previous poster had it right on the money, a million, billion or trillion all float through joe bloggs mind as 'more pennies than i'll ever have in my bank account'.

Its one of the reasons why i love playing EVE, since if my balance goes under 500mill, i stop spending and start earning.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Julien » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:25 pm UTC

What if there were a Trillion dollar bill ? WHich president you think should be on it ? Richard Nixon ?
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby BattleMoose » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:32 pm UTC

I almost wish we would go the SI route on this, having a kilodollar, or a megadollar = million dollars. We could have a gigadollar = billion and teradollar = trillion. And bam, no confusion! Just some very silly sounding names.

Although a teradollar really doesnt sound very impressive at all.....

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Gellert1984 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:40 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I almost wish we would go the SI route on this, having a kilodollar, or a megadollar = million dollars. We could have a gigadollar = billion and teradollar = trillion. And bam, no confusion! Just some very silly sounding names.

Although a teradollar really doesnt sound very impressive at all.....



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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Zamfir » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:30 pm UTC

wisnij wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Bluh. The English-speaking world should their silly pretense that a billion is 1000 million and a trillion is 1000 billion.

Yeah, well, at least our sentences have verbs. :P


Because of those verbs, your sentences 10% longer. The production of extra paper for that 50000 square kilometers of rainforest each year and the extra internet traffic 10 nuclear plants. Verbs are not and they wasteful. :b

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby fjafjan » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:01 am UTC

Julien wrote:What if there were a Trillion dollar bill ? WHich president you think should be on it ? Richard Nixon ?

An ashamed looking Bush feels pretty apt. "I'm sorry I drove the inflation this far.. it's all the trrists fault"
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Matsi » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:20 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:Verbs are not and they wasteful. :b

You accidentally a verb...

I have nothing to say on topic besides that I'd call that number a billion.. (using the long scale here in the Netherlands)

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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Goldstein » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:55 am UTC

Contrary to the powers-of-a-million system proposed above, I'd rather see a billion be a million millions and a trillion be a billion billions.

You could justify it as:

One million = 1,000^(2^n) for n = 1;
One billion = 1,000^(2^n) for n = 2;
One trillion = 1,000^(2^n) for n = 3.

The advantage of this system is that we get the most out of each name - Quadrillion might be perfectly valid, but it doesn't half sound silly.
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Re: $1,000,000,000,000 (ONE TRILLION)

Postby Soralin » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:09 pm UTC

Goldstein wrote:Contrary to the powers-of-a-million system proposed above, I'd rather see a billion be a million millions and a trillion be a billion billions.

You could justify it as:

One million = 1,000^(2^n) for n = 1;
One billion = 1,000^(2^n) for n = 2;
One trillion = 1,000^(2^n) for n = 3.

The advantage of this system is that we get the most out of each name - Quadrillion might be perfectly valid, but it doesn't half sound silly.

That's making things a bit large I think, there wouldn't even be a trillion stars in the visible universe then I think. There would be slightly less then a trillion molecules in a mole of something (approximately 602,214,179,000 billions (and how would you say that number verbally?)).


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