Saturday, November 15, 2008

A neat site to visualize numbers

While musing about the list in the last post I got to thinking about large numbers. The site linked below lets you see how big the pile of pennies would be for various numbers. It's best if you step up from size to size. Seeing the trillion penny cube made me wonder how much copper the world produces. Which turns out to be a lot, about enough to make five of those trillion penny cubes each year. That, in turn, got me to thinking about steel, and I found that the world produces enough steel each year to make a bit less than half of the quadrillion penny cube.

And, after looking at the piles of pennies, you can go to this site to let this pretty interesting guy tell you all about the events of his life as delineated by his collection of smashed pennies. Be sure to click on one of the pennies at the bottom of the page or else on one of the state names on the left of the page. Way back in his youth he started to collect smashed pennies. Then at some point, it seems, the smashed pennies started collecting him. But, all in all, he's still sort of normal; probably about as normal as me.


Anonymous said...

I seem to recall an episode of "I Love Lucy", where she says that rather than accept a large sum of money in bills, that she would rather get it all in pennies so that she could walk through it barefoot.

From that point forward, I was always fascinated with the idea of doing that, EXCEPT for the part where I'd have to count them out and put them into penny rolls so that I could deposit them at the bank.


Sully said...

Walking through the pennies. . .

Back in the 1970's I worked with a fellow who cashed his first large commission check (several thousand - a lot of money then) and took the money in one dollar bills. He took the money home and strewed it all over their bedroom and waited for his wife to return home.

The next day he gathered up all the bills and bought the best used Corvette that he could get for the sum.

True story - for the bedroom part I rely on his telling; but he definitely showed up with a white corvette after taking one day off. The best part is that when he would talk about it he would say that having his wife come home and find the money was great; but the look on the car salesman's face when he opened the satchel and said he was paying cash was even better.

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Anonymous said...

Visualising large numbers is fun! You can see what one million looks like on this poster that I made ( Not sure about getting this much in pennies though!