IsThatABigNumber.com is about extending our number sense. We make comparisons that are (mostly) down-to-earth: populations of people and animals, national budgets, river lengths and so on.
But when we leave behind everyday experience and look at the kind of numbers you find in astronomy and in combinatorics, we come across vastly bigger numbers.
One strategy to grasp these numbers is to break them down into a series of levels, to see them as stupidly big aggregations of things that are themselves stupidly big aggregations of … Here are some good clips illustrating this:
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.