Saturday, February 11, 2012

What's another trillion... that is not that much, is it?

Today, Debra and I went to OMSI to view the Body Worlds exhibit (well worth your time if you have not seen it yet).  We then spent some time in a science exhibit, where I stumbled across this exhibit that was designed to demonstrate nanoscale.  I have been searching for some way to demonstrate the magnitude of our national debt, and ironically, this exhibit that was designed to impress us with the smallness of something will also work quite nicely to demonstrate the extreme hugeness of our national debt.

Deb is standing next to three tubes that contain very small beads (smaller than grains of sand).  In fact, each bead is only 300 micrometers across. 

 The tube on the left has 1-thousand beads, barely covering the bottom of the tube.  The tube in the middle has 1-million beads.

The large tube on the right has 1-billion beads!  This is a close-up of the top couple inches of the large tube to show the size and number of beads that we are talking about (Deb is 70 inches tall).

The difference between the volume of the 1-million bead tube and the 1-billion bead tube is very impressive and significantly greater.

Now consider this... if they were going to display 1-trillion beads in this exhibit, they would have to install 1000 of the large 1-billion bead tubes!

Finally, (and this should make every tax-payer in America sick to their stomachs), if they tried to demonstrate the number of beads it would take to represent our national debt ceiling as of 09 Feb 2011, they would have to install 15,400 of the large 1-billion bead tubes!  I seriously doubt if the huge exhibit room that we were standing in could even hold that many tubes.

Six-thousand of those large tubes have been filled in just the last three years (how is this even possible?)  Sadly, every one of the dollars represented by each of those little beads in those 15,400 tubes must be paid back by our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,.. you get the picture.

Another display gave me yet another way to explain the unthinkably huge number that 15.4 trillion represents:  Light travels at the speed of 187,000 miles per second... that is 5.89-million million miles or 5.89 trillion miles a year.  At the speed of light, it would take 2.6 years to travel 15.4 trillion miles!

So when you hear the media throwing around numbers like $1-trillion like it is pocket change... it would take you about two years to spend that amount at the rate of $187,000 ever single second!

And when congress says they are going to cut the budget by 1-billion dollars, that is only one tube of beads... there are still 15,399 left to pay back!  Even if they cut $1 trillion, (1000 tubes, which would be great), there are still 14,400 more to go!

It is so past the time to fix the problem!  Choose wisely.


Anonymous said...

Scotty, take us up to warp speed.........quickly.

Scotty and Deb said...

I was thinking this morning, just how much area would 15.4 trillion beads cover? It turns out that they would cover 3/4 of a basketball court (77 ft x 50 ft) at a depth of about 4 ft... that's a lot of beads!

Scotty and Deb said...

Well now... with the news of the new budget just proposed by the President, we can add 5000 more of the large tubes to the collection, which is now enough to cover the entire basketbal court at least 4 feet deep with "dollar" beads! Tell me this is just a dream...