Free-form entry eg: '125000km', '1.5 million inches', '$67bn', '45000000 AUD', 100years', '123456789', '1 trillion', '1.5e6', '25 million kg'
Two students’ lives were put at risk when they were accidentally given a dose of caffeine that was 100 times greater than it should have been. “… the calculation had been done on a mobile phone, the decimal point being put in the wrong place. ” Getting the numbers right can be a matter of life and death.
Take a set of numbers collected from “the wild”. You might take company profits, city population statistics, street numbers or odometer readings. How many of the numbers in your set start with “1″? how many with “2″? with “3″?, “4″? …
Amazing as it sounds, these leading digits are NOT evenly distributed but follow a pattern (30% “1″s, down to less than 5% “9″s). This pattern is so reliable, it’s been used in fraud detection, to trap companies cooking their books: the invented numbers did not follow Benford’s Law.
Follow the link for a fascinating explanation of why this is so.
This video recreates the classic “Powers of Ten” film, zooming out to larger and larger scales to the limits of our understanding of the universe, and then zooming in again, down to the smallest things we know about.
It’s an excellent way of illustrating relative magnitudes of distance. One gripe: it all happens a bit too quickly: try watching it at half speed.
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.
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