. . . and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
A reader commented yesterday about finding a "visual" for 700 million dollars, or better yet, 3 trillion dollars, since those are some of the numbers being thrown around these days as if they were nothing at all.
I was intrigued by what that might look like myself, and while I didn't find any pictures, I did come across some information that might help put these numbers into at least some sort of perspective. Bear in mind, all of the below are dealing with a single million or billion or trillion; extrapolate the examples as you may need.
A million seconds is 12 days.
A million dollars is equal to a stack of $1,000 bills 4 inches high
(this one is really too easy, isn't it? Let's move on, shall we?)
A billion seconds is 31 years.
A billion dollars is equal to a stack of $1,000 bills 358 feet high.
A billion seconds ago it was 1978.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
At an average rate, it would take about 95 years to count to one billion.
A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.
A trillion dollars is equal to a stack of $1,000 bills 67.9 miles high. To put that in perspective, you could drive 60 mph for a full hour with this stack laid out on the road next to you and still not reach the end. And remember, these are thousand dollar bills.
If you spent a million dollars a day starting on the day Christ was born, you would not have spent a trillion dollars until the year 2737.
Assuming that a box of Girl Scout cookies is $3.50 and the world population is 6.7 billion, a trillion dollars could buy everyone in the world 42 boxes of cookies.
To cover a trillion kilometers, you would have to go to the moon and back 1,300,718 times, or to the Sun and back 6,684 times, or to Pluto and back (at its closest proximity to Earth) 116 times.
I don't know about you, but even with all that, I'm still having a hard time grasping how big a "trillion" really is. But you know what else? Maybe it's better if we can't really comprehend it after all.