[he] invented a new numerical unit. You know how they have million, billion, and trillion; thanks to Tyler we now have killion. "This number is so large that by the time you count to it, you're dead."
So of course I started wondering just about how big a killion actually was. Assuming that you could spend your whole life counting out loud, starting from say age 2 and diligently spending 16 hours a day counting until the numerical sequence terminates in a long dark tunnel with a white light at the end, how far would you get?
In about one second, I can count to six. But you couldn't just extrapolate from there of course, as it takes a lot less time to say 'five' than 'fourteen million six hundred fifty-two thousand seven hundred and forty-two'.
I remembered that one of the weekly Ruby Quiz challenges was to take an integer value and have a program spit out the English version of it. A quick search turned up the quiz and it's answers. I selected the first solution, by Eliah Hecht, since I love the way Ruby makes bare numbers Integer objects and that you can add methods at will to the standard classes. I modified his code so that instead of returning English words, it would return the number of syllables in the English version of the values.
My program initially calculated how many syllables you'd have time to utter, using 6 per second and assuming a lifespan of 72 years, starting at age 2 and counting 16 hours per day. It then set about iterating through an i+=1 loop until it reached that limit. Here's the output:
You have 1471680000 seconds (or 25550 days) to spend counting before you reach a killion.So there you go, a killion is a bit shy of half a billion. Of course, an actual killion would seem to be a matter of personal constitution, but it's interesting to know the rough order of magnitude. It's going to be less than a billion (unless it's Ray Kurzweil counting).
That's enough time to utter eight billion, eight hundred thirty million, eighty thousand syllables.
Calculating killion now...
Up to one hundred thousand so far(5 seconds, 1052900 syllables}
up to four hundred thirty-one million, two hundred thousand so far (42180 seconds}...
"killion = four hundred thirty-one million, two hundred seventy-six thousand, three hundred and one"
That is, assuming my code wasn't buggy. You can check it if you're curious: killion.rb.
It took about 12 hours to run on my pentium 4 linux laptop. It looked like it was going to take 3 times that long on my G4 powerbook!
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