What's a Trillion?

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euro

At a recent conference I attended, University of Maryland philosopher Mark Sagoff mused: "I've been trying to get my mind around what a trillion is. It's such a huge number. But I think I've finally figured it out. A trillion dollars is equal to 1 Euro."

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  1. Ouch. They may soon be true after we reach hyperinflation.

    You can’t keep spending and spending and spending and not expect hyperinflation. And if this cap and trade bill passes that will only make things worse. He may be right in a few years.

  2. DHS etc. Of course that’s Sagoff’s depressing point.

  3. Do you think I could start getting my checks in Euro’s then?

  4. I find it helps to use SI prefixes to understand some of these numbersmegabucks ($x10^6=millions) , gigabucks ($x10^9=billions), terabucks, ($x10^12=trillions). Maybe it is the engineering background, but that makes a lot more sense. A terabuck is more dollars than I have bits of movie data downloaded, and I have a pretty good size collection.

  5. A trillion is one thousandth of a quadrillion.

    At the rate we’re going, we will be throwing around the “quad” number by next week.

  6. Ramsey, they should just report spending in scientific notation. “Congress today passed a $1.54×10^11 emergency farm bill…”

  7. University of Maryland philosopher Mark Sagoff

    I put “philosopher” as my occupation on the last census.

    We need to start a Colbert-style movement to skew the occupation statistics next year toward something highly ridiculous. Suggestions?

  8. HoneyBunny,

    I’m going to go with “Licensed Poet.”

  9. “We need to start a Colbert-style movement to skew the occupation statistics next year toward something highly ridiculous. Suggestions?”

    I think the best thing to do is answer with the acronym “NOYFB” to every question except the number of persons living in the household. That is the only question the U.S. Constitution grants them the power to ask.

  10. Suggestions?

    I’m partial to “Master & Commander.”

  11. “Snark Czar”
    “Self-help Coach”
    “Episiarch”

  12. I’m partial to “Master & Commander.”

    The board needs a keyword soundtrack, like the ads. “Master and Servant” would have just started to play.

  13. My occupation is now turkey baster.

  14. “De-virginator”

  15. Moustache chauffeur.

  16. “Ramsey, they should just report spending in scientific notation. “Congress today passed a $1.54×10^11 emergency farm bill…””

    No, they should print every last fucking zero in the number for all to see. The public needs to actually see how ridiculously long the number is to be reminded how badly the government has got us in hoc. Shorthand notations just doesn’t convey it the same way.

  17. You think “freelance marksman” would crack the Census Bureau’s anonymity policy?

  18. > I think the best thing to do is answer with the acronym “NOYFB” to every question …

    I agree with you in principle. In practice, though, we’d probably just end up contributing (more) to the $10^12s of “revenue”.

    Anyway, wrt occupations, I find “Glory Hole Tender” generally gets attention.

  19. put down “Iranian Spy”

  20. “Episiarch”

    Eew.

  21. I bet “Maple sucking puck slapper” would trigger an ICE raid.

  22. I find “Glory Hole Tender” generally gets attention.

    Especially when you forget to change out of the uniform when you leave for lunch.

  23. “President of the United States of America”

  24. Xeones, I’d be too ashamed to have been in that band to tell the Census.

  25. “president of the zombie racing commission”

  26. I put “philosopher” as my occupation on the last census.

    Oh, c’mon. Don’t fill out any of that extraneous shit. Name and address are the only census questions authorized under the Constitution, so that’s all they get from me.

    And get off my lawn!

    /Clint Eastwood off/

  27. xeones – community organizer

  28. Article 1, Section 2 on the Census reads as follows:

    The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

  29. Can ‘unemployed’ be an occupation?

  30. Can ‘unemployed’ be an occupation?

    “Ronin” is a better alternative.

  31. Can ‘unemployed’ be an occupation?

    Yes, if you are my ex-brother-in-law.

  32. Xeones, I’d be too ashamed to have been in that band to tell the Census.

    It beats the shame of having been any of this country’s more recent executives.

  33. Don’t fill out any of that extraneous shit.

    The allure of representing six people* is too compelling! With one stroke of a pen, I can create the statistical existence of six Licensed Poets in Kentucky!

    *long form goes to 1 in 6 households IIRC.

  34. Whoa, we have TWO posters from KY. FrBunny, if I stroke your hair and tell I love you, will you firebomb SugarFree’s house for me?

  35. Immigrant Smuggler

    You could then add the number of immigrants you smuggled just so the census is a little more accurate.

  36. Tax Slave

  37. will you firebomb SugarFree’s house for me?

    That dude took a bullet to the crunchberries. I’m not messing with him.

    BTW, robc lives in KY too. Representin’!

  38. Three form Korntucky? That’s enough for a fambly reunion, ain’t it?

  39. Here’s an easy way to understand a trillion.

    If you were given a trillion dollars to spend, spending at the rate of 100 million dollars per day, it would take you over 27 years to spend the entire one trillion.

    It used to be that really big numbers were called ‘astronomical’. Nowadays really big numbers ought to be called ‘federal’.

  40. “Tax Slave”

    I love it!!! Invisible Finger you have the best idea yet!!!!

  41. How would they react if I put Klingon down as my race?

  42. > How would they react if I put Klingon down as my race?

    Probably charge you with a hate crime.

  43. That’s enough for a fambly reunion, ain’t it?

    You makin’ fun of my sisterwifecousin?

  44. Hell, what you’uns call a family reunion, we call supper.

    “Bragg, take the truck and pick up grandma. The biscuits is almost done.”

  45. “sheep herder”
    “orgy organizer”
    “self-help group tourist”

  46. “non-profit pornographer”

  47. Intergalactic bounty hunter

  48. “stunt triple”

  49. If that’s a Lobo reference, Art, I’m going to send you a candygram junkpunch.

  50. Intergalactic bounty hunter

    Oh! I also put “international bounty-hunting” as my reason for travel on a passport application shortly after 9/11. I’m very surprised it didn’t cause problems.

  51. I was actually surprised to learn that the U.S. current account deficit is less that $1 trillion.

  52. “Candygram Junkpuncher” is a good one, Sweet’n’Low.

  53. If that’s a Lobo reference, Art, I’m going to send you a candygram junkpunch.

    Not a bad guess, SF, but Lobo’s based on me.

    Still, I’d be flattered (and hurt) to get a candygram junkpunch.

    FrBunny,

    Did you get your quarry?

  54. Liberals whine whine whine about market failures. That I cannot send a junkpunch to someone and have candy scattered all over them while they are down is a real market failure.

  55. “. But I think I’ve finally figured it out. A trillion dollars is equal to 1 Euro.”

    he’s here all week

  56. We need to start a Colbert-style movement to skew the occupation statistics next year toward something highly ridiculous. Suggestions?

    Retired blogger, and all around man of mystery.

  57. Hey Astro – since the Federal budget is $3,550,000,000,000… if you spent $100 Million a day, it would take you 97 years to spend all that!

  58. Did you get your quarry?

    I was distracted by an all-you-can-drink-Cuervo-with-dinner-purchase special in Cabo.

    “FrBunny Manhunters Inc: We rarely get our man.”

  59. Speaking of trillions, here’s another way to visualize it that was linked to here on reason some time ago but worth a look for those who haven’t seen it.

  60. That I cannot send a junkpunch to someone and have candy scattered all over them while they are down is a real market failure.

    Where did you get the idea that you can’t have this done. Haven’t you ever heard of http://www.shottothejunk.com? How about the company “You wanna attack ’em, we’ll rack ’em?”

    Heck, I will do it for the cost of the plane ticket, assuming that the recipient doesn’t enjoy it, that is.

    Occupation: Professional Junk shotter.

  61. I’m kind of late to the party but…I think I’ll put down “anti-semitic-Holocaust-denying-911-conspiracy-theorist who likes to hang out at Holocaust museums with firearms” as my occupation.

  62. Free-lance Underachiever.

  63. American’s don’t forget that all this money being thrown about is going to be repaid by increasing the amount of tax $$$ you have to pay back in a few years time.Then you’ll find out what real tax is like, like us European’s – you’ve had it easy so far.

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