Free-form entry eg: '125000km', '1.5 million inches', '$67bn', '45000000 AUD', 100years', '123456789', '1 trillion', '1.5e6', '25 million kg'

In Feb 2018, the SpaceX corporation launched the “heavy” configuration of its Falcon rocket. The payload was Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla. Strapped into the driver’s seat was “Starman”, a crash-test dummy, and on the satnav was displayed the words from the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

Don’t Panic

As of now, in May 2018, the vehicle is just about 52,6 million kilometres from Earth, and about 112.6 million kilometres from Mars. It’s travelling at just under 95,000 km/h. Those are big numbers. But how big is 52.6 million km: Well, it is:

* 200,000 times the length of the Monaco Formula 1 race.

* 100,000 times the distance from London to Edinburgh

* 137 times further from Earth than the moon.

/./itabn/compare?number=52600000+km

http://www.whereisroadster.com/

Misplaced decimal point endangers lives

Violent Crime Rate in the USA: 50% down from peak 25 years ago

Making Sense of Air Pollution Statistics

2,043,599 Pennies is a big number but is it Art?

How old are Olympians? (for each sport)

GDP: a Predictor of Olympic Gold?

Guide to Spotting Dodgy Statistics

HK-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Meets in the Middle

200 Terabyte Mathematical Proof

If you’re keen on numeracy, numbers, and fact-based analysis, you’ll have heard of the death of the great statistician and all-round amazing person, Hans Rosling. Gapminder is a website that highlights some of the work and the work of his team, and is well worth a visit.

Powerful infographic from the FiveThirtyEight.com website (to whom all respect for numbers-led analysis and comment). Gives the question some context and perspective. And #ContextMatters. (Red dots are suicides, blue are homicides, yellow are accidents)

Overall, 33,000 people a year die from shootings in the USA. That IS a big number.

A little workout for the number sense. It’s never easy to have an intuitive sense of volumes, but here’s a little thought experiment to exercise your numeracy chops.

Answer: around 600 million. Check my workings!

Yes, there's now a book based on these numbers. Oxford University Press: July 2018.