Thursday, January 29, 2009

What comes after trillion?

The short answer: Quadrillion

Lunch at PARC

One of the interesting things about lunch at PARC is that, as a result of the interdisciplinary nature of our work, people toss out conversation topics that can only be described as uncommon.

Here is one recent exchange:

Q: Trillion used to be a safely large number. But, with all the financial crisis and trillion dollar rescue packages, I need to know what comes after trillion.

A: Let me confirm. Ah, it is "quadrillion."

Q: Did you know that there is a long scale and a short scale. A billion in short scale is 1,000 million but in long scale is 1,000,000 million?

A: That is interesting. American is short scale. I think French is long scale. Britain used to be long scale too, but it seems to be in flux these days.

Q: I believe Chinese numerals increment by 4 zeros (1,0000; 1,0000,0000; 1,0000,0000,0000).

A: Yeah, it is call the myriad system. As a matter of a fact, the decimal system is not the most obvious numeral system for different cultures.

A: There are many ways that decimal system would not work. For example, I have been considering a 60 based systems because it is more efficient for networking.

Uncommon, yes. Fascinating, definitely.

Or, you had to be there.


Friday, January 9, 2009

2 alarms in as many months


There is something funky about this. There were two fire alarms in as many months.

The good news is that none were real fires. Somebody accidentally triggered the fire alarms.

The bad news is that it takes a while for the whole thing to be sorted out by the professionals while everyone sits on their hands in the parking lots.

Should have brought my laptop out so I can do some work.

I wonder how good is the wireless coverage in the parking lot.