Most people aren’t math fans. But orders of magnitude are important. House Minority Leader Everett Dirksen back in 1969 said that ” A billion here and a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” The Federal Budget then was $867 Billion.
Today, with the overview of both parties, the annual U.S. Budget is $3.24 Trillion with revenues of $2.8 Trillion. The shortfall is borrowed from other countries and individuals. The total US Debt of these shortfalls has risen currently $18 Trillion.
So, what really is a trillion of anything? It’s just the next number after Billion. Right?
Let’s count a Trillion seconds and then put it in perspective:
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. That seems to be a lot of seconds.
In a week, there are 604,800 seconds – say 600,000 seconds
A million seconds is 1.65 weeks.
A billion seconds is 32 years. (That’s quite a jump between the two.)
A trillion seconds is 31,797 years. (Now that is a real jump!)
18 Trillion seconds is 572,344 years.
Christ was born 2,015 years ago.
Woolly Mammoths died out 4,000 years ago.
The first pyramids were built 5,200 years ago.
The first cities were built 7,000 years ago
The last major Ice Age carved out the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes 20,000 years ago.
Humans migrated into the Americas 30,000 years ago
Neanderthals died out 41,000 years ago
Homosapiens left Africa 60,000 years ago
Homosapiens developed in Africa 200,000 years ago
Neanderthals appeared 350,000 years ago.
18 trillion seconds would carry you 2,000 centuries earlier than the beginning of the Neanderthals who existed 1,500 centuries before homosapiens appeared.
So, then, what is the difference between a billion and 18 trillion in seconds? It’s the difference between 32 years and 572,000 years. The order of magnitude change, to me, seems a bit staggering for a slight syllable difference.