Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh commercials!

Commercial hyperbole is bugging me again.

 If you get a new pair of glasses from VisionWorks (used to be America's Best),  you not only get the glasses but a better you.  That's pretty impressive.  I've known a person or two who could really use a new pair of glasses from there.  Hey, if I get some glasses there, can I get rid of 20 pounds?  That would make me better.

Even more interesting is the United States Postal Service's commercial that states that there is nothing worse than going to the Post Office and standing in line.  Goodness, if that is the most terrible thing that can happen, have we all been making too big a fuss over serious illnesses, accidents, and deaths?  Are all our realities seriously whacked?  I've actually done that standing in line thing many times; it's a wonder I've survived.

I'll add others as they bug me.  Of course I realize that the commercials are not meant to be taken literally, but the exaggerated language annoys me.  That's why I love my DVRs.

I've also seen some cute license plates lately so maybe I'll have to post about those again.  There are some clever folks out there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How much is a trillion?

I'm afraid we are becoming numb to the enormous size of the numbers our government uses.  When President Clinton was in office, we talked in millions.  President Bush in billions.  President Obama throws around trillions.

As a teacher, I used to try to help students understand really big numbers, because the words aren't particularly scary.  It's pretty hard to get your head around.

A trillion is a thousand thousand thousand thousand.  Not so bad?  That's 10 to the 12th power.  How about a thousand billions, or a million millions?

Still okay?  Current estimates put the number of stars in our Milky Way (the only ones we can actually see) at between 300 and 400 billion--but a fraction of a trillion.

If we had been able to spend a million dollars a day, starting with the birth of Jesus (on which our calendar is based), we would not yet have reached one trillion dollars.

It takes nearly 32,000 years to get to a trillion seconds.  Sixteen trillion is sixteen times as long (more than 500,000 years).  Are you worried yet?  I sure am.