3 articles
  • colliding galaxies_HERO

    How to Understand Extreme Numbers

    The late statistics wizard Hans Rosling, who died this month at age 68,  brought at least 10 toilet paper rolls to some of his beloved presentations.  He would stack them into a tower on a table, each roll representing one billion people. In a 2012 talk at the Skoll World Forum, he used the rolls […]
  • Bayeux Tapestry hero

    The Word “Million” Didn’t Exist Until We Needed It

    I would cut off my right hand if you find it.” That was the guarantee retired Columbia history lecturer Jens Ulff-Møller made that there was no word for “million” in Old English, a medieval predecessor of the language you’re currently reading. Some Anglo-Saxon writers understood the idea of a million, and they had a term for it: a “thousand […]
  • Article Recirculation Lead Image

    Found: The World’s Favorite Number

    Ecelop via Shutterstock Go ahead, admit it. Like a lot of people, you have a favorite number. Nautilus Members enjoy an ad-free experience. Log in or Join now . Maybe you’re not as extreme as Sheldon Cooper, the arch-nerd character on television’s Big Bang Theory, who loves the number 73: “73 is the 21st prime […]