This article about log scales and how to think about them (and how they naturally reflect how we think about big numbers) pretty much nails it, for me. Using log scales is an essential tool in your mental numeracy toolbox.
Thank you, Chalkface blog.
Thank you, too, Vi Hart for your passionate and engaging video on the topic.
Cute video featuring nine ways to visualise 1 in a million. Interesting that five of the nine ways involve the use of an intermediate grouping. For example, 100 people have an average of 100,000 hairs on their heads. 10 hairs represents 1 in a million. 4 of the comparisons are direct, eg 1 word in all of the text of the Harry Potter novels.
Is That a Big Number is now a book, published by Oxford University Press. (Google ISBN
0198821220 to find many online booksellers). Although there is serious purpose behind the book - to explore how we think about numbers and how we can understand big numbers - it’s written in a light and engaging style.
Entertaining, full of practical examples, and memorable concepts, Is That A Big Number? renews our relationship with numeracy. If numbers are the musical notes with which the symphony of the universe is written, and you’re struggling to hear the tune, then this is the book to get you humming again.