# Millions and Billions

“From my years of teaching introductory astronomy in a community college setting, I estimate that at least 85% of the adult American population does not re

“From my years of teaching introductory astronomy in a community college setting, I estimate that at least 85% of the adult American population does not realize that a billion is 1000 times as large as a million. In teaching my astronomy classes I use a meter stick as ‘a picture of a thousand.’ A meter stick is just under 40 inches long, a few inches longer than a yard stick. A meter is a typical height for a 3-year old child, or about the size of two cocker spaniels. A millimeter (mm) is about the thickness of a dime. The smallest marks on a meter stick are 1 mm apart. There are 1,000 millimeters in a meter. If 1 millimeter is used to represent ANYTHING, then 1 meter represents ONE THOUSAND TIMES AS MUCH.” Part of the very interesting L-Curve site.

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