A few months ago, we wrote a variant of the old chestnut “How much is a billion?”. My boy ventured an question that demands an extention of the concept. (NOTE: I’m using the generally-accepted definition of a “trillion” as being one million millions, or 1E12, NOT 1E18 as was the original imperial case.)
1E12: A CUBE OF DRIED PEAS…60 metres x 60 x 60. That’s 198 feet or 10,000 peas along each and every edge, or 216,000 cubic metres, or getting on for 200,000 tons I would say. Probably fill a good-sized container ship.
31,711 years is approximately a trillion seconds. As the planet coold as it will, Al Gore’s house in Tennessee is going to be under several dozen feet of permanently-iced tundra by then. Go and give the lying toad a hard time!
About 2.7 billion years is a trillion days, give or take. No plants (let alone any animals) no sponges even. Possibly the first photosynthetic bacteria, the ancestors of many lines iincluding chloroplasts.
One trillion US Dollars: what Gordon Brown’s stalinists waste in an average year. This is not to say that David Cameron’s less-serious and less-resolute stalinists would waste much less.
The solar wattage (reckoned as Watts per sq metre) arriving at 275 square miles of the earth’s surface at mid-day on the equator. That’s a block of land about 15 by 18 miles. The Amazon Rain Forest fixes less than 2% (2E10 or about 20 GigaWatts, per unit block of 275 sq miles) as biomass.
This 15 x 18-mile block of power (1 TeraWatt) is the same, roughly, as the “mean base load” of electrical energy being used by 340 million Western first-World homes, while 100% of them are cooking Christmas dinner in the Northern Hemisphere midwinter – that’s ALL the houses in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey and most of the Muddle East.
1E12 watts is also the gross radiated output of 18 square metres, or 21.5 square yards, of the Sun’s surface. In the UK, this is area of a moderately large sitting room, 12 feet by say 16 or 17. (about 56Gw is radiated per square metre, or the total mean amount of generated electric power normally available to the UK on a good day.)
1E12: The number of atoms in a third of a nanogram of Gold (3.27E-10 grams.) It’s about the size of a bacterium, and you MIGHT be able to see it with a good powerful optical microscope. Or maybe not.
1E12: The estimated number of different antibodies (immunoglobulins) which a human immune system is potentially capable of producing.
I may add more!