Not to mention a trillion. While I can put a mere million into terms that my mind can conceive of, I have trouble grasping just what a billion is worth. Or how much a billion of anything is. (And I know a US billion is “10 to the 9th power”–a thousand million–as opposed to a Brit billion). A desultory search of straight dope indicates that when it’s not being used for quantifying things on a scale beyond my tiny ken, it’s often used to mean lots (even by Cecil).
Last year I compiled a list based on the US budget. It’s not exhaustive, and being one in a (teeming) million, I naturally have no cite. Isn’t there a better way for me to become less innumerate? And “10 to the nth” does zilch for me.
Social Security $403,000,000,000
debt interest $220,000,000,000
National Park Service $1,400,000,000
Tax breaks $150,000,000,000
SS, Medi hikes $45,000,000,000
poor kids subsidies $15,000,000,000
Ed Loans $12,000,000,000
poor schoolchildren $9,000,000,000
U.S. Border Patrol $1,000,000,000
waiting for a billion answers…