Nerd Alert: Dictionary of Numbers

For those of you who try to incorporate quantitative reasoning in your teaching, here’s a nice resource:

Dictionary of numbers: putting numbers in human terms
This is a Google Chrome extension that tries to make sense of numbers you encounter on the web by giving you a description of that number in human terms. Because “8 million people” means nothing, but “population of New York City” means everything.

And, here’s a blog post about it from the nerd-friendly xkcd site – a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language:

Dictionary of Numbers
May 15, 2013
Opening paragraph:

I don’t like large numbers without context. Phrases like “they called for a $21 billion budget cut” or “the probe will travel 60 billion miles” or “a 150,000-ton ship ran aground” don’t mean very much to me on their own. Is that a large ship? Does 60 billion miles take you outside the Solar System? How much is $21 billion compared to the overall budget?

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