Thursday, July 03, 2008



I know! But I came across/heard some HUGE NUMBERS yesterday — first about Leona Helmsley's infamous will (earmarked for dogs)("dogearmarked"?):

Even if the resulting total is at the low end of the estimate — $5 billion or so — the trust will be worth almost 10 times the combined assets of all 7,381 animal-related nonprofit groups reporting to the Internal Revenue Service in 2005.

But a story on the radio about Zimbabwean inflation was even more alarming. From a June 26 article in The Register-Guard:

Zimbabwe is believed to be the only country in the world that now carries out routine financial transactions in dizzying sets of quadrillions — one quadrillion is a 1 with 15 zeros behind it, or 1,000,000,000,000,000.

Here's more:

Bread has disappeared from stores. Previously, a loaf in a supermarket cost 2 billion Zimbabwe dollars (20 U.S. cents at the official exchange rate), or 15 billion Zimbabwe dollars ($1.50 U.S.) on the black market, where prices of scarce items can vary up to 10 times higher.

A shopper lucky enough to find milk will spend 3 billion dollars (30 U.S. cents) for about 1 pint. A tray of 30 eggs, also scarce, can bought in a store for 45 billion dollars ($4.50 U.S.).

Butter is hard to find, but 17½ ounces of margarine will cost 25 billion dollars ($2.50 U.S.) and a pack of 10 cookies costs 19 billion dollars ($1.90 U.S.).

Some more dizzying figures can be found at the Christian Science Monitor.

I ran across a third thing having to do with large numbers, but I forgot what it was.

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