## Thursday, 20 May 2010

### Numbers

With all this talk about our deficit and debut it is difficult to get your head around the vastness of the figures. From what I understand, people don't really understand exactly what a million is compared to a billion. Our brains just aren't wired to think in numbers that large. A million sounds a lot but how much can you visualise the difference between that and a billion? Well a million seconds equate to 12 days and a billion seconds equals 31 years!

Checking my maths;
60x60x24*12 = 1,036,800
Taking into consideration that a year would be 365.25 days because of leap years.
86400*365.25*31 = 978,285,600
(almost a billion. Rounding up is fine)

A billion is 1,000 times bigger than a million, but this doesn't impact our minds as much as we like to think it does. We still don't understand even what a million really is. To us it’s just a word. It’s not a number like 5, for instance, that we can visualise. We can hold our hand up with 5 fingers and count them, but try peaking at a crowd of a million people and accurately guessing how many are there!

However, the 12 days to 31 years really illustrates the difference for me. I’m prepared for some hard times ahead if we are to recover from our countries debt. A happy little thought for the end of a week!