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To the Editor:

It emerged to me, analysis Joseph Sawyer's letter on the national debt ceiling (Sept. 14), that i didn't know what $1 trillion is, permit alone $2 trillion. That course, ns knew that a trillion is a thousand billion and that a billion is a thousand million. But I didn't really know what that means. Understanding there space 12 zeros in a sunshine didn't aid much either.

Why no think of the in regards to seconds, ns asked myself? A trillion secs would have to be years, probably many years ago. I made a wild guess. Together it turned out, ns wasn't close. I discovered that 1,000 seconds ago was equal to practically 17 minutes. It would take practically 12 days because that a million seconds to elapse and also 31.7 years for a exchange rate seconds. Therefore, a trillion seconds would amount come no less than 31,709.8 years.

A trillion secs ago, there was no created history. The pyramids had actually not however been built. It would be 10,000 years before the cavern paintings in France were begun, and also saber-toothed tigers were still prowling the planet.

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I was stunned. At first I assumed I must have actually made a mistake, but a banker friend checked my figures and pronounced castle accurate.


Was ns alone in no knowing just how long ago a trillion secs was? ns asked some of my neighbors what they would certainly say if they were told they might have $1 trillion in one-dollar bills, so long as castle agreed come initial each bill. Your answers were really similar. ''No!'' they said. When I asked why, castle said, nearly without exception, ''Because it would take me the rest of mine life!''

We must all of us, particularly our elected officials, avoid thinking that a trillion seconds as merely a long time earlier and a trillion dollars as just a most money. The following time our senators and also representatives take into consideration the commonwealth deficit and also the price of the arms race, lock should enable themselves summary to think of seconds instead of dollars. They could then picture, if lock would, prehistoric male hunched in a smoke-filled cave, gnawing in ~ the skeletal of a woolly mammoth. DOROTHY C. MORRELL Seattle, Sept. 18, 1986