Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Power of Magnitudes

How comfortable are you with orders of magnitude?

Do you remember the joke where you are asked if you would give someone a penny and then double it every day for a month? I forget how it goes .. perhaps you are offered 1,000,000 dollars, and when you are young, or perhaps older and undereducated in mathematics, you jump at the offer since pennies cannot add up to much that quickly … can they?

1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 (recognize the binary sequence yet?), 2048, 4096,8192, 16384, 32768 … and so on until, on day 31 you are coughing up $10,737,418.24 ….. whaaaaaa?

Yup … add up all the days and you get a pant load of cash. You made a really bad deal.

Now imagine working not in binary, but in base ten. The multipliers are astronomical! Which leads me to this awesome video I found while perusing my friend Sue’s YouTube channel

Watch it … it should blow your mind …

No comments: