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How Big is a Trillion?

In the U.S., one trillion is written as the number “1” followed by 12 zeros (1,000,000,000,000). One year of clock time =

(60sec/min) x (60 min/hr) x (24 hr/da) x (365.25 da) = 3.16 x 107 sec
One trillion seconds of ordinary clock time =

( 1012 sec)/( 3.16 x 107 sec/yr) = 31,546 years!

Six trillion seconds equals 189,276 years. Now, as an aside, along with the nearly six trillion miles in the light-year, you might be interested to know that there are nearly five trillion dollars in the current U.S. national debt. Is it any wonder that our politicians in Washington are concerned?

(An interesting bit of trivia: If one were to count the national Debt at the rate of one dollar per second, he or she would have to use a mechanical counter to click off the digits. Why? Because, if he or she counted in the usual way, saying “one, two, three, …” etc., there would be numbers whose names are so large, that it would take more than a second of clock time to pronounce them. For example: “Nine hundred and ninety nine billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine,” takes about 8 seconds to pronounce.)


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