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What is a billion ?


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Maybe not so dumb a questi9on as it could be either 1000, million or a million million apparently?

When astronmical distances are quoted in billions of years or light years which standard is applied ?  or am i just stupid all together?

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Does that mean far away galaxies are further away in the UK  Dave That'll be a no then

LOL. For clarity: The Big Bang was 'quite a while back' Formation of the solar system was 'a while back' Dinosaurs wandering around was 'long long ago' Man appearing was 'long ago' The telescope was

No, it just means that we are farther away from America.

I never even knew this question was an issue! I always though a billion was 1000 million and after a quick Google search this seems to be the definitive answer nowadays:

In British English, a billion used to be equivalent to a million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000), while in American English it has always equated to a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000). British English has now adopted the American figure, though, so that a billion equals a thousand million in both varieties of English

I have made clear the key word above. This is from the Oxford dictionary: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/how-many-is-a-billion

Edited by iksose7
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It is a legitimate question because 'when I were a lad', a billion was a million million.

As said though, the UK now falls in line with the U.S. and it is a thousand million

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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as above 1000 million is a now the standard

In 1975 Chancellor Denis Healey announced that the treasury would adopt the US billion thenceforth.

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Does this mean the term milliard ( British 1000,000,000) is redundant?

I'm afraid so old bean, and the world is a poorer place without it ;-)

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Long scale is every named number after a million has six 0's until the next one, short scale is three 0's. A lot of Europe uses the long scale but not the UK.

TSED70Q, iOptron Smart EQ pro, ASI-120MM, Finepix S5 pro.

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Does this mean the term milliard ( British 1000,000,000) is redundant?

Miljard (the j is pronounced soft like a y) is the Swedish word for 1 000 000 000 still, I imagine some other European countries still use it too.

TSED70Q, iOptron Smart EQ pro, ASI-120MM, Finepix S5 pro.

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Does this mean the term milliard ( British 1000,000,000) is redundant?

Yes.

It is often said that we English are hopeless at learning a foreign language,

nuts, we done it already, easy peasy !

The rest are just jealous that we find it so easy :)

ducks&runs.

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In Spain, 1billion = 1000000000000 = a million million.

but what do they use for the thousands separator and the decimal mark ?

(makes it easier to count the 0ts :) )

Most continentals are very confusing in that regard ;)

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I'm only 50 years young but can remember my early astronomy and science books making the distinction between the American billion and British billion.

The old British billion might have been bigger but when Carl Sagan said it, the American billion was infinitely richer! :)

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Clear as mud then? So the reason for my original query was to do with astronomical measurement for instance how long since the big bang ? 13.8 million million years ago or a relatively young 13.8 thousand million ? Years, hell worrying about this will keep me awake now !

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but what do they use for the thousands separator and the decimal mark ?

(makes it easier to count the 0ts :) )

Most continentals are very confusing in that regard ;)

In some countries the comma is used as the decimal point and the full stop is used to separate every three figures.

How confusing is that?!

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According to my logic a billion (bi meaning two) has twice as many zeros as a million, and a trillion (tri meaning three) has three times as many zeros as a million. Grounded on this paradigm, I'd argue that:

a thousand has 3 zeros
a million has 6 zeros
a billion has 12 zeros
a trillion has 18 zeros

But the general US public and scientific community has it otherwise:

a thousand has 3 zeros

a million has 6 zeros

a billion has 9 zeros

a trillion has 12 zeros

In a sense, this numeration also has its own twisted logic, for now we are simply dealing with increments of a 1000 times and should make words like kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes entirely understandable.

When it comes to counting the thousands, in the UK and USA etc, they will use comma sign (,) i.e: 1,236 etc. But in Spain, for example, you would write: 1.236. However, to indicate the decimal in English you would write with a full top (.) i.e: 1.25 etc, whereas in Spain, you'd write with a comma 1,25 :icon_eek: .

Don't ask...if langauges made any sense we wouldn't have noses that run and feet that smell :lol:

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Clear as mud then? So the reason for my original query was to do with astronomical measurement for instance how long since the big bang ? 13.8 million million years ago or a relatively young 13.8 thousand million ? Years, hell worrying about this will keep me awake now !

LOL. ;)

For clarity:

The Big Bang was 'quite a while back'

Formation of the solar system was 'a while back'

Dinosaurs wandering around was 'long long ago'

Man appearing was 'long ago'

The telescope was invented 'some time ago'

The Internet as a place to discuss this problem was created 'a short time ago'

and 'astonomical measurement' of the time when the Big Bang occured is 'quite recent'.

Nighty night.

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LOL. ;)

For clarity:

The Big Bang was 'quite a while back'

Formation of the solar system was 'a while back'

Dinosaurs wandering around was 'long long ago'

Man appearing was 'long ago'

The telescope was invented 'some time ago'

The Internet as a place to discuss this problem was created 'a short time ago'

and 'astonomical measurement' of the time when the Big Bang occured is 'quite recent'.

Nighty night.

More like my kind of calculations, time for "a few" winks as its cloudy out. This old stargazing lark is best enjoyed for the sheer pleasure it provides , ill leave the more technical points to vulcans and the likes. By the way why do we only see one side of the moon ? He he thats one for an other wet night

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More like my kind of calculations, time for "a few" winks as its cloudy out. This old stargazing lark is best enjoyed for the sheer pleasure it provides , ill leave the more technical points to vulcans and the likes. By the way why do we only see one side of the moon ? He he thats one for an other wet night

Yes.... because the Moon's period of rotation exactly matches the time it takes to orbit the Earth.

'Gravitationally locked' is the term, I think.

You may need to find another puzzle.....weather is looking bad!

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