December 14, 2005

What is a Billion?

This came from the December issue of our local Community Connection Magazine:

The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" casually, think about whether you want the politician spending your tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its releases.

  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
  • A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
  • A billion days ago our ancestors were living in the stone age.
  • A billion years ago no one walked on two feet on earth.
  • A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes at the rate the government spends it.

No, I haven't checked the figures. I can get the point without being anal about it.

Posted by Ted at December 14, 2005 12:09 PM | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

A billion seconds is 31.7 years. A billion minutes is 1902.6 years. The first two can't be both be right, even if the thing was written in 1990.

2.7 million years ago, Australopithicus afarensis was just going extinct. That would actually be before the stone age.

A billion years ago, there were ostriches and emus and whatnot.

According to something I saw on the web today, the government is spending something like $78,000 a second. Which puts a billion dollars just shy of three hours and thirty-four minutes ago.

Posted by: buckethead at December 14, 2005 02:08 PM


Posted by: Ted at December 14, 2005 02:25 PM

A billon years ago there were no ostriches or emus or whatnot as birds are prolly less than 100 millions years old. In fact, I'm pretty sure that there were no vertibrates in the oceans a billion years ago, let alone on land.

And 2.7 million ago was about 2.6 million years before the stone age.

Jus' sayin' is all... :)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 14, 2005 10:37 PM

Thanks for the point about the Emus. My fact checking apparently needed fact checking.

But notice I just said before the stone age, not how much before the stone age.

Posted by: buckethead at December 15, 2005 09:37 AM
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