Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The Trouble With Trillions
Yes, this post's title is the same name of The Simpsons episode when Mr. Burns and Homer flee to Cuba to protect their trillion dollar bill. And that title was a variation of the famous Star Trek episode "Trouble With Tribbles." Big whoop, wanna fight about it?
Pictures from cartoons are funny. They're even funnier when they're out of context. Like so...
Anyway, this is just a discussion of the T word. Maybe instead of saying Barack's 2010 budget is $3.5 trillion, we can say it's 3.5 T-Bones. That'd be more hopeful, and it'd be change.
How big is a trillion? It's a 1 with 12 zeros after it, or 1x10^12 or 1,000,000,000,000. It's a thousand billions. It's a million millions. It's one thousand times a thousand times a thousand times a thousand.
One trillion miles would take someone around the Earth 40 million times. One trillion miles would be the same distance as 135 round trips between Earth and Pluto. The Universe has existed for 14 billion years, or 1.4% of a trillion. 1 trillion days is about 60% the age of the Earth. The Universe is not yet 1 trillion weeks old, and won't be for another 5 billion years.
$1 trillion could pay Alex Rodriguez to play baseball for 40,000 years. With $1 trillion, you could buy EVERY seat in Gillette Stadium as season tickets for 12,000 years. That includes the 2 preseason games a year.
If you played MegaMillions a trillion times, you'd win 5,700 jackpots.
Only 14 countries have GDPs higher than $1 trillion. $1 trillion could buy Indonesia two times over, buy Venezuela 3 times over, Portugal 4 times over, the Ukraine 5 times over, Slovakia 10 times over, and Lithuania 20 times over.
With $1 trillion, you could buy every single share of ExxonMobil... three times... and have $52 billion to spare. You could have a portfolio that owned all of Wal-Mart, all of Microsoft, all of IBM, all of Google, all of Coca-Cola, all of Verizon, all of Apple, all of General Electric, all of Pepsi, and all of Intel.
Here's a trillion pennies next to a football field (not my illustration).
Resistance is futile.
1 trillion MPH is 1,490 times faster than light.
1 trillion inches is 15.8 million miles, or 33 round trips from Earth to the Moon.
1 trillion miles is about 1/6 of a light-year.
The Sun is a little more than 1 trillion millimeters around.
If you spent $100 per second, it would take you 317 years to spend $1 trillion.
It would take Major League Baseball 45.7 million seasons to reach 1 trillion innings played, and 1.4 million seasons to reach 1 trillion pitches (at 300 pitches per game).
If you played 1 trillion hands of 5 card draw, you'd get dealt a Royal Flush 1.5 million times. If you had 1 trillion Queen high straight flushes (in hold em), you'd LOSE THE HAND 120,000 times. If you had 1 trillion straight flushes of any level, you'd lose 1.2 million times.
My point is that one trillion is an extremely large number (duh). It's so large that it's an unfathomable number. And our government is going to spend 3.5 of them next year. 3.5 T-Bones. To quote Homer: "That's a spicy meatball."
Posted by rob at 6:30 AM