Skip to comments.Ginormous Numbers Could Create a Mental Black Hole
Posted on 02/06/2013 1:46:58 PM PST by lbryce
Giant numbers, like Graham's number, are so huge that they are bafflingly hard to grasp.
A trillion. A googol. A centillion. TREE(3). Somewhere between zero and infinity is a host of finite, but mind-bogglingly huge numbers.
But while mathematicians have dreamed up large numbers for ages and they pop up frequently in physics and math, gigantic numbers are bafflingly hard to fathom.
"Really big numbers are in every piece of technology we look at, in every organism we look at," said John Borwein, an applied mathematician at the University of Newcastle in Australia. And yet, "These are enormous numbers that no human being is intuitively equipped to understand."
Some of these numbers are so huge that even writing them down involves completely different math notation. And thinking about them may give you more than a headache: according to mathematicians, in theory, storing ginormous numbers in one's head could create a black hole. [The 8 Most Massive Numbers in Existence ]
Even so, such numbers are inherent in our understanding of quantum physics and probability, and even make an appearance in mathematics proofs.
From the start, people have been fascinated with the question of how big numbers could get.
Ancient Babylonian texts, for instance, mention incredibly large numbers, which students used to practice multiplication or division, said Henry Mendell, a historian of mathematics. And in a text called the Sand Reckoner, Greek philosopher Archimedes calculated the number of grains of sand that would fit into the universe, which came to about 10 raised to the 63 (or 1 with 63 zeroes after it) grains of sand, Mendell told LiveScience.
The physical world
In the physical world, most of the big numbers can still be expressed using scientific notation
(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...
Well, in the waning days of Obama's presidency I toyed with the idea of doing a countdown of my own on Obama's remaining days, actually having done it for a grand total of one day. But my intuition got the better of me and gave up on it simply because his chance of winning loomed too large to believe otherwise.
So, today thinking about Hillary and Christie I reminded myself that Obama was already in his second term. I checked this inauguration site that said there was 1,444 days from today February 6, 2013 until the next inauguration which had me thinking that the sooner Obama's countdown began the more it would give his political vitality a sense that time was ticking, while not quite sitting duck, his time is already counting down and of course, there will always be too much time with OBozo at the helm.
So, here I am inaugurating my Obama Countdown to Oblivion, Day 1, 1444 days left until simply because the countdown is therapeutic in itself, giving a sense of freedom I really don't have, but drawing closer offers even an infinitesimal modicum of relief.
Uh-oh. LiveScience used the phrase “black hole” . . . wonder if (but doubt if) John Wiley Price, Dallas County Commissioner reads LiveScience? He’s the genius who declared the phrase “black hole” to be “racist” back in 2008 (remember, Mr. “All of you are whitego to hell” when he also misinterpreted “mullah” as “moolie” . . . he’s being investigated by the FBI of late).
Humans have difficulty comprehending numbers over 1,000. In our development, we would seldom see more than 1,000 people gathered together at any time.
If you have a number you can’t handle multiply it by zero.
That weir is so cool! I can see why they need a fence around it. Where is it?
That’s why I get so incensed when the Media routinely rattles off some figure like $10 billion [fill in the blank] being wasted on some govrrnment boondogle.
Better to say “The entire taxes paid by the City/State/County/people whose names beging with [fill in the blank] have be wasted on [fill in the blank]. Maybe if you start personalizing the waste, instead of eye-glazing anonymous numers, people might start saying “Hey! Wait a minute!”
Surely in this computerized age, those figures can be dug out of the IRS.
Dammed if I know. (Pun fully intended!)
I looked around a bit and apparently it is an overflow drain at Monticello Dam here in California, nicknamed "The Glory Hole" (no comment). Frankly, from an engineering perspective, I would think a spillway would be more functional and cheaper, but it is really cool.
Or nuke it by dividing by zero
2^57885161-1 is the largest prime number found so far.
Give me the value of pi to its final decimal point and then I’ll really be impressed.