Damien on… I’ve Told You A Million Times – Don’t Exaggerate
We all know what a thousand is – and a million. However, most people think the next multiple is the billion – but they are WRONG.
The numbers go thusly – a thousand: a one with three zeros after it – a million: six zeros – a milliard: nine – a billion: twelve – a billiard (nothing to do with the game): fifteen – a trillion: eighteen – a trilliard: twenty-one – and a quadrillion: twenty-four zeros.
After that (if absolutely necessary) you can go to a quintillion (thirty zeros) a sextillion (thirty-six) a septillion (forty-two) an octillion (forty-eight) and so on.
Simple – until the Americans got involved.
Despite the billion being perfectly content as a million million (bi- meaning TWO: as in bicycle, bisexual, bifocals, etc.) and the trillion likewise, as a million million million (tri- meaning THREE: as in tricycle, triangle, trident, etc.) they decided to CHANGE things.
It’s what they do. The rest of the World has 50Hz power, so they alone went with 60Hz. We have PAL/Secam – they have NTSC (never twice the same colour). Our AC current comes at 220 volts – theirs at 110. And it’s the same with shoe sizes, date/month, gallons, etc.
They ALWAYS have to be DIFFERENT, so they unilaterally decided to make a thousand million a billion and a million million a trillion – despite simple grammar dictating otherwise.
Thus the Orders Of Magnitude became split into Short Scale (America) and Long Scale (the rest of the World).
But America, while not being the most advanced or developed nation on Earth, IS the most powerful – thus it was not long before other countries began adopting THEIR misbegotten numbering system.
So what to do? Well – these days, the million and billion are slowly fading from use. Smart people are now only using thousand and million (at least America hasn’t mucked up THOSE).
Thus a one with nine zeros is now being described as a thousand million – rather than a billion (Short Scale). And one with twelve, a million million – rather than a billion (Long Scale) or trillion (Short Scale). It avoids confusion.
While numbers GREATER than 1,000,000,000,000 (Long billion or Short trillion) are usually only used in Science – and are thus expressed as powers anyway (i.e., the aforementioned number would be 10¹² – ten to the twelfth).
And so THIS time we can CIRCUMVENT America’s crassness. Pity we can’t do the same with all the OTHER crap we’ve inherited from them…