totally random: a visualisation of how big 1 billion actually is

Belarin

Est. Contributor
So I've just spent about an hour typing up a post using some math and it got me thinking about something I learned a while back. I thought/hope some of you might find it as interesting as I did.

I love numbers and the things you can do with math but it's often quite hard for people to conceptualise very large numbers in a meaningful way. numbers like 1 million and 1 billion get thrown around but if I asked you about the difference in size between the two you might want to try thinking of objects or more precisely how much space would be taken up by that many objects i.e. 2 piles of sand with a million and a billion grains or stacks of bank notes or perhaps pieces of string and how far it could reach. This is very subjective and can actually be quite difficult to visualise and really get a sense of scale.

Now something we as humans are intimately familiar with is time, time is intrinsic to our very existence, so here is a little fact that may help you truly grasp the enormity of the difference between 1 million and 1 billion.

If you were to program a computer to increase a number by 1 for every second that passes and then set it to 0 and leave it running it would take approximately 11 days to reach 1 million. Now leave that machine running until it reaches 1 billion and it will take roughly 31 years and 9 months to get there.

Quite the difference eh?

Jorelaxed and littleph0enix
Another way to look at it... as we all like to spend money.

If you had a million dollars you could spend \$1000.00 dollars a day for the next 2.7 years.

If you had a billion dollars, you could spend \$1000.00 dollars a day for the next 2,700 years.

In any case allot of money.

Or in the case of purchasing ABU DIAPERS IN BULK, if you had a billion dollars you could by 33,333,333 packages of 10 count diapers. I think you are covered for the rest of your days.

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KittyninjaW, Edgewater, Jorelaxed and 2 others
littlemoosey said:
Or in the case of purchasing ABU DIAPERS IN BULK, if you had a billion dollars you could by 33,333,333 packages of 30 count diapers. I think you are covered for the rest of your days.
I can just imagine the guys at ABU receiving that order

Edgewater
Belarin said:
I can just imagine the guys at ABU receiving that order
Imagine trying to fulfill it!

Edgewater, Belarin and Jorelaxed
Belarin said:
I can just imagine the guys at ABU receiving that order
They would be like.

jamiejamie said:
Imagine trying to fulfill it!
*ahem* "boys clear your calendar we're pulling some overtime"

Edgewater, Jorelaxed and jamiejamie
Belarin said:
*ahem* "boys clear your calendar we're pulling some overtime"
Massive O.T

I forget how old I am most of the time.
Cake metaphors work for me; how big a cheapo party cake (sponge with jam and buttercream filling, and soft icing) would such unimaginable numbers measure up to.
I'm crap at maths, but hungry to know

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Edgewater
wouldnt even begin to know how to convert those numbers into a recipe into a cake!

Edgewater
Belarin said:
So I've just spent about an hour typing up a post using some math and it got me thinking about something I learned a while back. I thought/hope some of you might find it as interesting as I did.

I love numbers and the things you can do with math but it's often quite hard for people to conceptualise very large numbers in a meaningful way. numbers like 1 million and 1 billion get thrown around but if I asked you about the difference in size between the two you might want to try thinking of objects or more precisely how much space would be taken up by that many objects i.e. 2 piles of sand with a million and a billion grains or stacks of bank notes or perhaps pieces of string and how far it could reach. This is very subjective and can actually be quite difficult to visualise and really get a sense of scale.

Now something we as humans are intimately familiar with is time, time is intrinsic to our very existence, so here is a little fact that may help you truly grasp the enormity of the difference between 1 million and 1 billion.

If you were to program a computer to increase a number by 1 for every second that passes and then set it to 0 and leave it running it would take approximately 11 days to reach 1 million. Now leave that machine running until it reaches 1 billion and it will take roughly 31 years and 9 months to get there.

Quite the difference eh?
Saw a video where someone did this with grains of rice, each grain of rice representing 100,000.....makes you realize the gross amounts of money bezos and musk and others are hoarding for absolutely no reason. Nobody needs that much money if they arnt going to do anything with it

Lilrae said:
Saw a video where someone did this with grains of rice, each grain of rice representing 100,000.....makes you realize the gross amounts of money bezos and musk and others are hoarding for absolutely no reason. Nobody needs that much money if they arnt going to do anything with it
Yeah I know, greedy bastards hoarding all that money they dont need. Who cares that they came up with an idea risked their own capital invested their own time. And now the selfish pricks are employing over 1 million people at Amazon and Elon employs over 100,000. Not to mention the spin off jobs and taxes that every body pays. Just think about the 1000's of trucks AMAZON buys, and the people that are employed building their trucks and warehouses. The high tech Musk industries employing engineers and programmers and high tech manufacturing and all of the spin off jobs they produce... the list is endless.

I say socialism is the way to go, let the government determine how much is too much. Lilrae, perhaps even you dont "really need" your computer or those expensive designer diapers that you wear. I mean really, you can get the cheaper stuff from a health care store.... someone else really needs your money and the fruits of your labor. Think about the millions of illegals streaming across our borders that are dirt poor, uneducated, and unemployable in a high tech society. I'll bet they look at you and think that you are a pretty wealthy individual, and that, "you really dont need that much money". They will be voting soon, and Ill bet your money looks pretty good to them.

Be careful what you wish for.

Edgewater
littlemoosey said:
Yeah I know, greedy bastards hoarding all that money they dont need. Who cares that they came up with an idea risked their own capital invested their own time. And now the selfish pricks are employing over 1 million people at Amazon and Elon employs over 100,000. Not to mention the spin off jobs and taxes that every body pays. Just think about the 1000's of trucks AMAZON buys, and the people that are employed building their trucks and warehouses. The high tech Musk industries employing engineers and programmers and high tech manufacturing and all of the spin off jobs they produce... the list is endless.

I say socialism is the way to go, let the government determine how much is too much. Lilrae, perhaps even you dont "really need" your computer or those expensive designer diapers that you wear. I mean really, you can get the cheaper stuff from a health care store.... someone else really needs your money and the fruits of your labor. Think about the millions of illegals streaming across our borders that are dirt poor, uneducated, and unemployable in a high tech society. I'll bet they look at you and think that you are a pretty wealthy individual, and that, "you really dont need that much money". They will be voting soon, and Ill bet your money looks pretty good to them.

Be careful what you wish for.
Now I totally get what you are saying here, so many people complain about the overly wealthy having too much money without taking into account what those people are actually doing with it and just how much they do provide in terms of employment opportunities, industry and infrastructure, charity work, economic stability and growth etc.

While the extremely wealthy do mostly make that fortune off of the backs of others and can be very exploitative, without them we would be missing a lot of the things we have in the modern day society with a much higher unemployment rate and a far greater degree of fluctuation and more extremes in the global economy.

There is also the fact that while these people are considered "billionaires" doesn't always mean that they actually have that amount of money, quite a lot of their fortune is often tied up in capital (land and properties, patents, shares, owned businesses, services, R&D, vehicles and machinery...) yes they could go out tomorrow and sell everything and have a billion dollars cash but they don't necessarily have that as spendable money right now, (though they will still have a fair fortune available). Their "net worth" is not the same thing as their "personal wealth".

So while I do on the whole agree with your point there does however come a time where a certain level of personal wealth becomes ridiculous, where they could literally give away everything they own except for the money in their personal bank accounts and still afford for their whole families to live luxurious lives for a few centuries, yet they still keep trying to save more.

I love a good chat on these sorta topics but I was aiming for a more light hearted post so to get back to a little but of fun...

I forget how old I am most of the time.
Cake metaphors work for me; how big a cheapo party cake (sponge with jam and buttercream filling, and soft icing) would such unimaginable numbers measure up to.
I'm crap at maths, but hungry to know
I tried replying to this on my phone this morning but for some reason it keeps increasing each line break by about 10 every few seconds So couldn't post it.

Hmmm let's see...

Taking a round cake with an circumference of 1 million millimetres it would have a diameter (fully across one side to the other at the widest) of about 1,044 foot, given an American football pitch is 360 foot long that means a cake about 2.9 football pitches across.

Whereas 1 billion mm circumference would be 1,044,642 foot diameter, or roughly the length of 2,901 football pitches.

Now there is no way I am going to even try and count the calories in that thing!

Lilrae said:
Saw a video where someone did this with grains of rice, each grain of rice representing 100,000.....makes you realize the gross amounts of money bezos and musk and others are hoarding for absolutely no reason. Nobody needs that much money if they arnt going to do anything with it
That is not how money works! They do not have that money sitting in some huge warehouse the size of Washington DC, thirty stories high! All that money is out there being used every hour of everyday. Working to make more money by funding personal and business loans, buying organizations, investing in new technologies. while supporting older technologies. and the lists go on and on and on!

If just those two individuals, next Monday, pulled all their money back, there would be a major collapse of the US Federal Reserves and the US Banking system. The value of Gold would increase beyond 1000%. Bitcoin and all the other 'paper' monies would likewise collapse as would most major Corporations. And, that is based just to fill that huge warehouse. But thankfully, that is not what they would do! So thankfully, they are not hoarding it, as it is all busy!! If you wish to target anyone for foolishness, it should be Western Governments as they are Trillions of Dollars in the hole.

One million is just within the ability of 'most' people to understand its size as inflation has slapped most with clarify as to what a nice home in most any city of moderate size costs today. A Billion, not within any understanding. When one speaks about Trillions, human minds fail to grasp those numbers.

Thank you for a reality check and sanity where “envy” rears its head.

The funny thing is that people lament and want to define just how much some one can earn, but they never want to limit or are concerned about how much some one can loose.

Belarin and Edgewater
littlemoosey said:
Yeah I know, greedy bastards hoarding all that money they dont need. Who cares that they came up with an idea risked their own capital invested their own time. And now the selfish pricks are employing over 1 million people at Amazon and Elon employs over 100,000. Not to mention the spin off jobs and taxes that every body pays. Just think about the 1000's of trucks AMAZON buys, and the people that are employed building their trucks and warehouses. The high tech Musk industries employing engineers and programmers and high tech manufacturing and all of the spin off jobs they produce... the list is endless.

I say socialism is the way to go, let the government determine how much is too much. Lilrae, perhaps even you dont "really need" your computer or those expensive designer diapers that you wear. I mean really, you can get the cheaper stuff from a health care store.... someone else really needs your money and the fruits of your labor. Think about the millions of illegals streaming across our borders that are dirt poor, uneducated, and unemployable in a high tech society. I'll bet they look at you and think that you are a pretty wealthy individual, and that, "you really dont need that much money". They will be voting soon, and Ill bet your money looks pretty good to them.

Be careful what you wish for.

It is a choice to treat one's employees poorly and no billionaire can plead poverty in claiming economic necessity.

Your strawman is also bizarre, I can't tell if you are sober? It reflects poorly either way, I'd recommend an edit at least.

Edgewater
Belarin said:
Now I totally get what you are saying here, so many people complain about the overly wealthy having too much money without taking into account what those people are actually doing with it and just how much they do provide in terms of employment opportunities, industry and infrastructure, charity work, economic stability and growth etc.

While the extremely wealthy do mostly make that fortune off of the backs of others and can be very exploitative, without them we would be missing a lot of the things we have in the modern day society with a much higher unemployment rate and a far greater degree of fluctuation and more extremes in the global economy.

There is also the fact that while these people are considered "billionaires" doesn't always mean that they actually have that amount of money, quite a lot of their fortune is often tied up in capital (land and properties, patents, shares, owned businesses, services, R&D, vehicles and machinery...) yes they could go out tomorrow and sell everything and have a billion dollars cash but they don't necessarily have that as spendable money right now, (though they will still have a fair fortune available). Their "net worth" is not the same thing as their "personal wealth".

So while I do on the whole agree with your point there does however come a time where a certain level of personal wealth becomes ridiculous, where they could literally give away everything they own except for the money in their personal bank accounts and still afford for their whole families to live luxurious lives for a few centuries, yet they still keep trying to save more.

I love a good chat on these sorta topics but I was aiming for a more light hearted post so to get back to a little but of fun...

I tried replying to this on my phone this morning but for some reason it keeps increasing each line break by about 10 every few seconds So couldn't post it.

Hmmm let's see...

Taking a round cake with an circumference of 1 million millimetres it would have a diameter (fully across one side to the other at the widest) of about 1,044 foot, given an American football pitch is 360 foot long that means a cake about 2.9 football pitches across.

Whereas 1 billion mm circumference would be 1,044,642 foot diameter, or roughly the length of 2,901 football pitches.

Now there is no way I am going to even try and count the calories in that thing!
So much cake, so little time