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What’s A Billion, Anyway?

Written by support on February 24, 2009 – 10:22 pm -

Opinion and Commentary by Nurse Mark

This little email piece makes it’s way around the internet from time to time. It landed in my inbox the other day and the numbers caught my eye - could they really be true, I wondered? I did a little research and found that the numbers are a actually little off  in the popular email that is forwarded willy-nilly by well-meaning friends - so I have corrected them and presented this updated version:

How many zeros in a billion?

Common American usage of the term is a one, followed by nine zeros: 1,000,000,000 or one thousand million.

The next time you hear a politician using the word "billion" in a casual manner, think about how you want the politicians spending YOUR tax money.

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

A billion seconds is about 31.7 years - so a billion seconds ago it was 1976.

A billion minutes is about 1901 years so a billion minutes ago Jesus had only recently walked in the Holy Lands.

A billion hours, or about 114,000 years ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

A billion days, or 2.74 million years ago no-one walked on the earth - at least not fully erect on two feet.

A billion dollars ago was only 4 hours and 10 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it. (Given that recent budgets have been around $2 trillion per year)
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