Today at Not About Apples, the disconnect between the our inituitive grasp of reasonable-sized numbers and our confusion over huge numbers, as motivated by this quotation from Ron Graham.

The trouble with integers is that we have examined only the very small ones. Maybe all the exciting stuff happens at really big numbers, ones we can’t even begin to think about in any very definite way. Our brains have evolved to get us out of the rain, find where the berries are, and keep us from getting killed. Our brains did not evolve to help us grasp really large numbers or to look at things in a hundred thousand dimensions.

Includes a math gem you’ve almost surely never heard before, which you almost surely won’t believe.

Permalink: Really big numbers.