John Wheeler: When numbers get too big they become astronomical
During a heavy thunderstorm, more than one trillion raindrops will fall on a square mile.
FARGO — At what point does a quantity of things become astronomical? Populations of cities are measured in the thousands. Our planets greatest population centers are measured in the millions. The planet's population is measured in billions. It is estimated there are 200 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Depending on the variety, an acre of land can yield 10,000 to 18,000 ears of corn. Ten thousand acres would produce 100 to 180 million ears. Farmers in the state of Iowa produce somewhere around 300 billion ears of corn in a good year. Billionaires have billions of dollars but that is a single amount. No billionaire has a billion actual, individual dollars. During a heavy thunderstorm, more than one trillion raindrops will fall on a square mile. If that storm is 5 miles wide and travels 200 miles, that would be something on the order of one quadrillion raindrops.