# billions and billions of stars.... was: Re: Another easter egg in gnome-something...

```On Wed, Sep 12, 2001 at 01:42:42PM -0400, Buddha Buck wrote:
> At 07:19 PM 09-12-2001 +0200, Neal H Walfield wrote:
> > > It looks like we're getting confused between the UK billion and the
> > American billion.  (Apologies to all other countries who use one or the other.)
> > >
> > > American (including Unix) = 10^9
> > > British = 10^12
> >
> >What the heck do the British call 10^9?  And further more, is 10^15 a
> >trillion (in the British system)?
>
> I'm not British, but I believe the system is:
>
>                  American        British
> 1000            Thousand        Thousand
> 10^6            Million         Million
> 10^9            Billion         Thousand Million (or a Milliard)
> 10^12   Trillion                Billion
> 10^18   Quintillion     Trillion
> 10^21   Sextillion      Thousand Trillion
> etc.

which actually makes more sense than the american system --
in the american system, a "bi-illion" is not two of anything that
a "mono-illion" is one of.  however, in the british system, think
of a million as a factor of 10^6 -- then a "bi-illion" is simply
two of the factors, or 10^12 (and so on with a "tri-illion" -
10^18)

the american system is a wacky off-by-one kinda of thing, where
a "million" is *two* factors of 10^3, a "billion" is *three* of
these factors, a "trillion" *four*, and so on.

at least the SI prefixes are unchanged in the british system!
--Rob

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