Thursday, August 6, 2009

Do the Math

I always enjoyed math in school and followed the curricula from basic math through elementary calculus—most of which I promptly forgot. Trig and solid geometry have occasionally served me well but numerical relationships are sometimes hard to grasp.

It is especially hard with unwieldy huge numbers with more zeros than pins in a bowling alley. Our modest household budget has no need of a clear understanding of millions, billons, or the new, common budgetary measure, trillions. Therefore, I am grateful to a commenter (Vinnie) on Roger L.. Simon’s blog for the following:

“Jack Uldrich, a futurist asked a mathematician to help him explain a million, billion and trillion to his audiences. The professor called him later and said to imagine seconds backward as a measure to help his audience understand the concepts.

He said:

a million seconds ago was 12 days ago

a billion seconds ago was 30 years ago

a trillion seconds ago was 28,000 BC

and our gov’t is spending how much of our children’s $$$ ?”

Having read the above anecdote, I am sure you will never read or hear the word ”trillion” again without the proper context. What a difference one letter can make. When some politician speaks of a ten million dollar savings please keep this illustration in mind.

In His biding love,

Cecil Moon

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