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September 29, 2009

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Kay Tie

"I will feel guilty if I have sparked off a new neurosis about how long is a trillion."

To be pedantic, we know how long a trillion is (9,192,631,770,000,000,000,000 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom). We just don't know how many days that will be!

Paul Flynn

Sorry I started this, KayTie and Adam. I'll stop worrying about triliona and get back to thinking about global warming.

I did get an e-mail from an eminent person about the 'When bad-news becomes good-news it's no-news' story. My priorities are not your priorities. I will feel guilty if I have sparked off a new neurosis about how long is a trillion.

Adam

'It can't be right because we don't know how many leap seconds will be added over the next 32,000 years.'

I feel you are overly critical without saying anything of substance.

'The Gregorian calendar isn't accurate enough to cover 38,000 years.'

I think you need to argue your case.

Kay Tie

It can't be right because we don't know how many leap seconds will be added over the next 32,000 years. Although "a second" is well-defined but "a day" changes as the planetary rotation slows.

Adam

No I worked it out, he is right. I think the Gregorian callender is a disgrace though to be honest.

Kay Tie

The Gregorian calendar isn't accurate enough to cover 38,000 years. And in any case the planet is slowing down unpredictably. So that calculation is likely to be out by around 4 or 5 days.

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