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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

How Much is a Million


Ongoing! Food for thought inspired from popular children’s book ‘How Much is a Million?‘ is a reason to try to grasp trillions in the news.

When our children were little, one year one of their favorite books was How Much is a Million?

Written in 1985 by David M. Schartz, the colorful illustrations by Steven Kellogg attempted to put into perspective very large numbers to help children conceptualize their enormity from one to 1,000,000. Cleverly detailed, whimsical illustrations using teeny, tiny stars and goldfish in large goldfish bowls, designed just for children, aided the educational calcuations one by one, all the way up through billions and onto trillions.

Be money smart. Give a lesson about big numbers and spending to a youngster in your life. For instance, last fall, we noted that $7 billion was spent on Halloween and the 7 billionth person in the world was born by the end of October 2011. Big numbers, huh?.

We’ve also discovered it’s an eye-opening experience to visit the U.S. Debt Clock and study the reality of it from time to time.

The first time we visited the U.S. Debt Clock was on June 7, 2010. That week, the U.S. National Debt topped $13,050,826,460,886.97. Yes. $13 Trillion and then some.

Though the debt passed $14 Trillion in January 2011and was more than $15 Trillion in January 2012for the sake of this illustration, we’ll use the trillions from that June 7, 2010, date. Thanks for following along as we try to we meander through the tremendous numbers game.

Just how much is a trillion? Since we still find it quite tough to get our arms around a trillion, let’s start by considering one million to make it a little easier to comprehend.

Let’s say you started counting dollar bills, one at a time, from $1 to $1,000,000 right now… You didn’t stop to eat or sleep and you allowed 2 seconds for every number. It would take you from right now until 23 days from now just to get to one million.

Above, in the bold $13,050,826,460,886.97 from June 2010, the red six (6) marks the six millionth spot where you’d be after nearly 140 days and you’ve only just begun to reach 10 million. $10,000,000.

(Please note, when we first wrote this exercise during the 2010 General Election, it was June 7, 2010, and we noted it was about 140 days to Election Day 2010 about equal to time it would take to count nonstop to 6 million.)

At any rate of calculations, keep in mind that in between millions and trillions are billions! A billion is a thousand million. A trillion is a thousand billion. Please repeat. A billion is a thousand million. A trillion is a thousand billion.

Final Note: Using a similar formula and pronouncing every syllable of every number, it would take 190,259 years to count from one to one trillion if you begin right now. Now multiply by 15-plus…and see how far you can count. (Click here to watch the clock!)

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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.