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26 Jul 12:26

Long and short numeric scales

by brandizzi
by Alexis Ulrich  LinkedIn Contents
  1. Short numeric scale
  2. Long numeric scale
  3. A European-centric vision
  4. Different cultures, different scales

Depending on the countries, different ways are used to create the names of big numbers. Between them, there are two most used: the short numeric scale and the long numeric scale. But what is the difference between them?

Short numeric scale

In the short scale, every new word greater than a million is one thousand times bigger than the previous term (the digits are grouped by three).
For example, one million is 106 and one billion is 109. Next scale word is one trillion, which is 1012.

Short numeric scale numbers

Long numeric scale

In the long scale, every new word greater than a million is one million times bigger than the previous term (the digits are grouped by six).
For example, one million is 106, one thousand million is 109 and one billion is then 1012. One trillion jumps to the 1018 position, as the previous scale position, 1015, is occupied by another name matching one thousand billion, and the two naming series go on alternatively.

Long numeric scale numbers

A European-centric vision

Historically, the long scale was used in France from the turn of the 15th century, spread out in Europe until the 17th century when the short scale was devised. The short scale was now in favor. In the meantime, the world was “discovered” by Europeans who spread out the short scale in their new colonies (and sometimes the long scale too, which was then replaced by the short one).
After some back and forth between the two scales, the situation can be summed up like that: European countries are now using the long scale (with the exception of the United Kingdom), whereas some previous colonies of the European empires kept the short scale system (Brazil, United States of America), and others kept the long scale (all the Spanish-speaking countries, with the exception of Puerto Rico).

Different cultures, different scales

Grouping numbers by three or six digits is not the only way to name big numbers. Modern Chinese groups them by myriads, or groups of four digits (亿 is 108, 1012), as well as Japanese ( is 104, 108) and Korean ( is 104, 108). Hindi groups them by two after 1,000 (सहस्र is 103, लाख 105, करोड़ 107), traditional Tongan has a special name for intermediate powers of 10 (mano is 104, kilu 105)…
The beauty of languages is that they are full of possibilities. Even in such a restricted area as how to name big numbers, the differences in counting and naming are quite awesome, opening up new windows into the cultures supported by each language.

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26 Jul 06:18


by Greg Ross

“Every honest researcher I know admits he’s just a professional amateur. He’s doing whatever he’s doing for the first time. That makes him an amateur. He has enough sense to know that he’s going to have a lot of trouble, so that makes him a professional.” — Charles F. Kettering

25 Jul 22:09

07/25/16 PHD comic: 'Author Name'

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Author Name" - originally published 7/25/2016

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

25 Jul 13:30

Broken Record

by Brian

broken record bonus

Bonus Panel

The post Broken Record appeared first on Fowl Language Comics.

25 Jul 15:04

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Death of an Economist


We need to continue collecting data right until the moment that I appear to be right.

New comic!
Today's News:

Well, looks like our mini book review went well, so I'm going to try rolling out my whole June reading list. Thanks for clicking the links last time, geeks. We're going to see about making this a more regular feature, and we'll tweak as we go.

One thing I wanted to add just for transparency - as I understand it, the way it works if that once you click my affiliate link, anything you buy at amazon for the next 24 hours contributes a cut to me as an affiliate. I get a report of stuff that was bought, but none of it's attached to anyone's name or personal information. 

So, basically, if you want to creep me out, click one of the affiliate links below, then buy something horrifying.

I'm also adding a rating system. I don't really like these, but I assume a lot of you are just looking for "what was your favorite book this month," so this should help. I want to stress that a 4/5 really does mean great:

1/5 = Blech
2/5 = Not recommended
3/5 = Not bad. Recommended if it's something you're curious about or a genre you like.
4/5 = Recommended. A great book.
5/5 = Phenomenal. Buy it, period, even if it doesn't sound interesting to you. I'm going to reserve this only for books that nearly brought me to tears or upended the way I think about the world. So, you won't see it too often - maybe once or twice in a good month! 

June 4 - Why Does the World Exist (Holt)


-Kind of a meandering memoir of the author asking people the eponymous question. A somewhat light read, at least given the topic.


Verdict: 3/5


June 7 - The Quants (Patterson)


-Enjoyable history of the entry of mathematical modelers into finance, but I think I’ve read this story too many times to enjoy another book.


Verdict: 3/5


June 8 - On the Origin of Sports (Belsky, Fine)


-Fun, but it’s really more of a reference/trivia book than anything. This book is a collection of the first written rules of a whole bunch of different sports, plus a bit of commentary.


Verdict: 3/5 as a reference book. 2/5 as a book to sit and read.


June 9 - Grunt (Roach)


-Mary Roach is always a delight. This one is about stuff related to soldiering, though it’s a bit more wide-ranging than some of her other books.


Verdict: 4/5


June 10 - Diet Cults (Fitzgerald)


-I enjoyed this book a surprising amount - Fitzgerald does some mild debunking of a number of fashionable diets and also explains who complex nutrition can be. It’s a sort of skeptics guide to nutrition, though it’s (to my mind) fairly gentle in its handle of various non-empirical approaches to diet.


Verdict: 4/5


June 11 - Dreamland (Quinones)


-An excellent description of the rise of opiate use in the United States over the last several generations. My personal belief is that it all argues for a broad program of legalization, but I don’t think that’s Quinones’ take. One depressing part of the book is how enterprising a lot of the drug traffickers are. You end up wishing they could use that work ethic and competence toward some more productive end.


Verdict: 4/5


June 17 - The Looming Tower (Wright)


-A great history of events leading up to September 11th. It’s obviously the case, but I’m frequently amazed by just how much more rich and human the truth is, when compared to the nonsense you catch in daily newsmedia.


Verdict: 4/5


June 17 - Dr. Futurity (Dick)


-An early Dick book, though with hints of what’s to come. It’s a sort of mystery plus time travel story that threatens to implode from its own complexity, but manages to pull out at the last second. Not exactly deep stuff - Dick’s early work is quite pulpy - but enjoyable.


Verdict: 3/5


June 17 - Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg)


-Enjoyable, but honestly a bit disappointing. I was hoping this’d be a bit more data driven, but it’s more of a personal memoir. That is, of course, just fine, but there are better books on similar topics.


Verdict: 3/5


June 17 - Ava’s Man (Bragg)


-I am just in love with Bragg. Here he gives a biography of his grandfather, a moonshine-making mountaineer, really from a different era. Great prose and great stories.


Verdict: 5/5


June 18 - Ruth (Gaskill)


-Gaskill is starting to become a guilty pleasure. It’s Dickensish, though not quite as clever.


Verdict: 4/5


June 19 - All Creatures Great and Small (Herriot)


-A great little collection of semi-fictionalized stories about being a veterinarian to a small farming community in Yorkshire. I really enjoyed these. The two books to follow are more of the same, and each is slightly last good than the one that came before. Still, wonderful charming little stories.


Verdict: 5/5


June 19 - All Things Bright and Beautiful (Herriot)

June 21 - All Things Wise and Wonderful (Herriot)


Verdict: 4/5


June 23 - The Cosmic Puppets (Dick)


-Man, you get the feeling Dick banged this one out over a weekend. It’s like an okay episode of the Twilight Zone.


Verdict: 2/5


June 27 - Sapiens (Harari)


-A fun, somewhat light book on *all of human history*. Too simplified to be certainly true, but it’s a joyful little romp with a lot of clever ideas.


Verdict: 3/5


June 28 - Solar Lottery (Dick)


-You can see the hints of the writer to come - the complex world-building and the enormous number of weird ideas and the avoidance of the usual early sci fi tropes. But… this book wasn’t so great. There are all these wonderful concepts, but it’s like he hadn’t quite got the hang of a narrative yet.


Verdict: 2/5


June 29 - North Korea Undercover (Sweeney)


-Sweeney writes sort of like a gonzo journalist, but it’s enjoyable in this context. This book is a memoir of a trip to North Korea and all the strange sights. It also contains a number of asides telling weird DPRK history and tales of defectors.


Verdict: 4/5

25 Jul 14:47

Anésia # 292

by Will Tirando


23 Jul 15:05




25 Jul 04:01

Dollars & Cents.

by Matt

Hey gang! All this week I’m in Philadelphia with the Nib crew. We’ve got a gallery rented out that we’ll be working out of, and it’ll be open to the public! We’ll have stuff to give away and we’re filling the gallery with art. Come say hi if you’re around! 303 Cherry Street. See you there!


25 Jul 00:00


For obvious reasons, the prize is awarded at a different time of year from the others, while it's still fresh in the committee's memory.
22 Jul 04:00

DNE 63 - Entrevista Zeno Rocha

No episódio de hoje, conheça uma baita história de inspiração. @femontanha e @raymonsanches entrevistam @zenorocha que conta como sua jornada começou.

Desde os primeiros passos com HTML5 e CSS até se tornar uma referência do frontend, como você deve moldar seus objetivos e perseguir os seus sonhos.

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Comentados nesse Episódio

24 Jul 06:36

The Magdeburg Hemispheres

by Greg Ross

German scientist Otto von Guericke conducted a memorable experiment on May 8, 1654: He connected two hemispheres, sealed their rims together, and drew out the air between them using a pump of his own devising. The resulting vacuum was so strong that 30 horses could not pull them apart.

At the time the experiment was seen as a strike against Aristotle’s dictum that nature abhors a vacuum. It’s repeated today as a dramatic demonstration of the power of atmospheric pressure.

23 Jul 21:37

A few sketches

I've been making a few more sketches about linux debugging tools / opinions in the last week. You can find them in this public Dropbox folder if you're interested. Here's one of them:

23 Jul 15:04

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Ursa Major


Of course, it actually looks more like a monkey

New comic!
Today's News:
23 Jul 13:41

Comic for July 23, 2016

by Scott Adams
23 Jul 05:00

Comic for 2016.07.23

by Rob DenBleyker
22 Jul 17:19

Boat Emergency

by Reza


22 Jul 07:15

My Dream Job

by Doug
Adam Victor Brandizzi

Ans sniffing asses.

My Dream Job

More cats and dogs.

08 Jun 00:00

Douglas Adams

"Anything that is in the world when you�re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that�s invented between when you�re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you�re thirty-five is against the natural order of things."
21 Jul 15:00

That Face.

He died the way he lived: Smirking like an asshole.
21 Jul 14:12

Frescura gourmet

by Will Tirando


21 Jul 15:02

Escola sem partido

by brunomaron
Adam Victor Brandizzi

Não tenho paciência pra este assunto mas a tirinha é genial.


Arquivado em:dinâmica de bruto
21 Jul 06:44

Wild Life

by Greg Ross

The author of Bambi wrote a pornographic novel. Josephine Mutzenbacher: The Life Story of a Viennese Whore was published anonymously in Vienna in 1906, shortly after Felix Salten moved there. Salten’s authorship has never been proven conclusively, but the consensus of scholars and even the Austrian government supports it.

The book is the fictional memoir of a 50-year-old Viennese prostitute, looking back on her scandalous life. In The Vienna Coffeehouse Wits, Harold B. Segel writes, “For those who knew him it was more in character than Bambi.”

It’s remained in print for more than a century now and sold 3 million copies. A sample in English (NSFW) is here.

20 Jul 17:43

Villarceau Circles

by Greg Ross

How many circles can be drawn through an arbitrary point on a torus? Surprisingly, there are four. Two are obvious: One is parallel to the equatorial plane of the torus, and another is perpendicular to that.

The other two are produced by cutting the torus obliquely at a special angle. They’re named after French astronomer Yvon Villarceau, who first described them in 1848.

20 Jul 12:23

This is how we work.image / twitter / facebook / patreon

Adam Victor Brandizzi

Vieses, agora desenhados.

This is how we work.

image / twitter / facebook / patreon

22 Jun 23:27


20 Jul 06:22

The Ellsberg Paradox

by Greg Ross
Adam Victor Brandizzi

Heurística, meu amigo...

Here are two urns. Urn 1 contains 100 balls, 50 white and 50 black. Urn 2 contains 100 balls, colored black and white in an unknown ratio. You must choose an urn and draw one ball from it, betting on the ball’s color. There are four possibilities:

  • Bet B1: You draw a ball from Urn 1 and bet that it’s black.
  • Bet W1: You draw a ball from Urn 1 and bet that it’s white.
  • Bet B2: You draw a ball from Urn 2 and bet that it’s black.
  • Bet W2: You draw a ball from Urn 2 and bet that it’s white.

If you win your bet you’ll get $100.

If you’re like most people, you don’t have a preference between B1 and W1, nor between B2 and W2. But most people prefer B1 to B2 and W1 to W2. That is, they prefer “the devil they know”: They’d rather choose the urn with the measurable risk than the one with unmeasurable risk.

This is surprising. The expected payoff from Urn 1 is $50. The fact that most people favor B1 to B2 implies that they believe that Urn 2 contains fewer black balls than Urn 1. But these people most often also favor W1 to W2, implying that they believe that Urn 2 also contains fewer white balls, a contradiction.

Ellsberg offered this as evidence of “ambiguity aversion,” a preference in general for known risks over unknown risks. Why people exhibit this preference isn’t clear. Perhaps they associate ambiguity with ignorance, incompetence, or deceit, or possibly they judge that Urn 1 would serve them better over a series of repeated draws.

The principle was popularized by RAND Corporation economist Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame. This example is from Leonard Wapner’s Unexpected Expectations (2012).

20 Jul 01:00

How to Talk to a Farmer

by Scott Meyer

Please don’t read this commentary if you’re having breakfast or drinking a latte.

I’ve joked about it many times, but I do find the entire idea of drinking cow milk horrifying. It’s just my weird mental thing, and should not be taken as an attack on milk drinkers.

For me, the idea of squeezing fluid out of a live animal is deeply unsettling to begin with. Then the fact that we’ve bred those animals so that the parts we squeeze are larger, and will produce more of the fluid, makes it worse. And then we developed suction-based machines made of stainless steel and rubber hoses to squeeze the animals more effectively.

I think the worst part is that I’ve been pretty close to more than one cow. I do not find them pleasant. Milk is white and clean-looking, yet it comes out of a cow. The cows I’ve been around have been dirty, have smelled awful, and have had glassy eyes and big gooey tongues like Jabba the Hut.

I’ve also been fairly close to more than one dairy farmer, and while most of them didn’t fit that description, more than one of them did.


You can comment on this comic on Facebook.

As always, thanks for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

19 Jul 20:43


19 Jul 03:20

Pushing And Pulling Goals

by Scott Alexander
Adam Victor Brandizzi

Same problem with me...

This is a distinction I’ve always found helpful.

A pulling goal is when you want to achieve something, so you come up with a plan and a structure. For example, you want to cure cancer, so you become a biologist and set up a lab and do cancer research. Or you want to get rich, so you go to business school and send out your resume.

A pushing goal is when you have a plan and a structure, and you’re trying to figure out what to do with it. For example, you’re studying biology in college, your professor says you need to do a research project to graduate, and so you start looking for research to do. You already know the plan – you’re going to get books, maybe use a lab, do biology-ish things, and end up with a finished report which is twenty pages double-spaced. All you need to figure out is what you’re going to select as the nominal point of the activity. There’s something perversely backwards about this – most people would expect that the point of a research project is to research some topic in particular. But from your perspective the actual subject you’re researching is almost beside the point. The point is to have a twenty page double-spaced report on something.

School and business are obvious ways to end up with pushing goals, but not every pushing goal is about satisfying somebody else’s requirements. I remember in college some friends set up an Atheist Club. There was a Christian Club, and a Buddhist Club, so why shouldn’t the atheists get a club too? So they wrote the charter, they set a meeting time, and then we realized none of us knew what exactly the Atheist Club was supposed to do. The Christian Club prayed and did Bible study; the Buddhist club meditated, the atheist club…sat around and tried to brainstorm Atheist Club activities. Occasionally we came up with some, like watching movies relevant to atheism, or having speakers come in and talk about how creationism was really bad. But we weren’t doing this because we really wanted to watch movies relevant to atheism, or because we were interested in what speakers had to say about creationism. We were doing this because we’d started an Atheist Club and now we had to come up with a purpose for it.

Sometimes on Reddit’s /r/writing I see people asking “How do you come up with ideas for things to write about?” and I feel a sort of horror. So you want to write a novel, but…you don’t have anything to write about? And you just sit there thinking “Maybe it should be about romance…no, war…no, the ennui of the working classes…or maybe hobbits.” I can understand this in theory – you want to be A Writer – but it still weirds me out.

You may have noticed I don’t really like pushing goals. Part of it is an irrational intuition that they’re dishonest in some way that’s hard to explain. It usually ends up with me trying to figure out what to do my biology research project on, and I think “well, I can’t think of anything I really want to research, so maybe I should just do whatever is easiest”. But if I do whatever is easiest, I feel really bad, and worry maybe I have some kind of obligation to research something important that I care about. So I get my brain tangled up trying to figure out how much easiness I can get away with, then feeling bad for asking the question, then trying to come up with something important I honestly want to do, which doesn’t exist since I wasn’t doing a biology research project the month before my professor assigned it to me and so clearly I am only doing it to satisfy the requirement.

Another part of it is that it’s often a sign something has gone wrong somewhere. In the example of the Atheist Club, that thing might have been starting the club in the first place. But assuming that we genuinely want to start the club, then the presence of a pushing goal means we don’t understand why we wanted to start the club. If we wanted to start it because we wanted to hang out with other atheists, then that offers a blueprint for a solution to the problem – instead of planning all these movies and speakers, we should just hang out. If we did it because we thought it was important for atheism to be more visible on campus, then again, that offers a blueprint for a solution – spend our sessions trying to improve atheism’s campus visibility. If we just sit there saying “I guess we have an Atheist Club now, better think of something to do at meetings”, then it seems like something important hasn’t been fully examined.

The third part of it is that things done for push goals usually suck. Maybe this isn’t a human universal – my go-to example is Edgar Allen Poe deciding to write a creepy poem and coming up with The Raven from first principles – but it’s true for me. If I have to write a report on a topic I don’t care about, then even if I’m really trying to do a good job, it’s not going to be as good as something I actually want to write about. Sometimes I try to solve this by making lists of things I want to pull, then using them when the appropriate pushing situation comes up. For example, when I knew I would be assigned research projects and writing assignments on a regular basis, whenever I thought of something I wanted to research or write, I wrote it down, then consulted the list when I needed it. I have a similar list of interesting things to work into stories. This is one reason I’m not interested in journalism – I worry that if I have to produce specific articles on specific things within a time frame, they’ll probably suck.

18 Jul 06:19

P.S. Got up the next day at 11.25am.

P.S. Got up the next day at 11.25am.