YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=cJ7A0yTDiqQ
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Uploaded:2013-10-25
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In which Hank is fascinated by the fact that, as much as he tries, it is impossible to actually understand the reality of a number even as simple as one million.

DFTBA Post-card sale is on now, and only available while supplies last! http://www.dftba.com

And you have six days to participate in the pumpkin carving contest!
http://nerdfighteria.vanillaforums.com/discussion/3602/nerdfighter-pumpkin-carving-contest/p1

Also, I'm on Talk: http://www.youtube.com/talk

And here's Henry and Derek giving their 1 million seconds answer...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfkhEmjTHgo&feature=youtu.be

Ocean at the end of the lane: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062255657?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=0062255657&linkCode=shr&tag=vlogbrothers-20&qid=1382718780&sr=8-1&keywords=ocean+at+the+end+of+the+lane

Losers in Space: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0670061565?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=0670061565&linkCode=shr&tag=vlogbrothers-20&qid=1382718792&sr=8-1&keywords=losers+in+space
Good morning, John. Today I'm gonna talk about numbers. Numbers are great because we can't really understand the world; it's too big. There is, for example, no way for me to really understand what a million of something is. Two, I got two. Two is just one thing, twice. But two million? How... hmmm...
 As an example, I know how long a second is. And I know how many a million is, it's just a thousand thousands, and a thousand is just ten hundreds. I can, I can say those words, and so, then, I should be able to know how long it was a million seconds ago. But I can't, I have no idea. I - it could be a week ago, it could be a month ago, it could be a year ago. In fact, let's do a scientific experiment right now. Everybody write in the comment box -no math allowed, no Google searches- how long ago you think it was a million seconds ago, like how many days or months or years you think it was.
Now I'm gonna look it up and I'm gonna tell you the answer. It was the Monday before last, a million seconds ago. Interestingly, a billion -also a big number. A billion seconds ago was not, like, last month, it was not last year. It was 1982. So by going from million to billion, we went from the Monday before last to like, Michael Jackson's Thriller and ET and the Falklands war. A billion to a trillion seconds ago, we're going from 1982 to 31 thousand years ago when humans were first being introduced to Europe. Hello, it is nice to meet you Europe. I don't know who was doing the introductions. Also, ah-probably they didn't speak English.
And it goes the other way too, like small, tiny super super tiny small amounts of time, like a nanosecond, you've heard of a nanosecond. But how-it's the amount of time it takes for light to travel a foot.
Remember a billion seconds ago it was 1982, a billion nanoseconds ago it was by definition, one second ago. And yet, check this out, the fastest computer in the world can do 17 million calculations, in one nanosecond. I'M NOT GONNA GET MY MIND AROUND THAT! It's amazing to me, because nobody really internalizes that information, but it allows humanity to control the world, and to do so many amazing and cool things.
For example, all that math allowed us to put the Kepler space telescope in orbit, where it told us that there are between 15 and 30 billion earth-like planets in our one galaxy, and there a more than 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe and the observable universe is who knows how big of a fraction of the actual universe, which may, in fact, be infinite. No edge! Giving us yet more incomprehensible data about how amazing our universe is.
We're not designed to understand that stuff, but we are designed to want to understand it. Which, I may be wrong that that is the most wonderful quality of humans. This is going back to a previous conversation if you're confused. It may in fact be our capacity and tendency to collaborate with each other to make things bigger than ourselves. There have also been people in the comments suggesting that empathy is the most wonderful human quality and that may also be true. I just kinda like the fact that there are so many different underappreciated reasons that humans are, in the end, pretty cool.
Nerdfighter pumpkin contest - going well, plenty of time to continue your submissions. There have even been people who have planned Nerdfighter pumpkin carving meet-ups. That's awesome.
Additionally, I've heard that things are getting a little boring at the DFTBA Warehouse, so, every package, that is not a poster, gets one of these, with a Hanklerfish on it. If you only have posters in your order you won't get one because we can't fit them in the poster tubes without ruining them. You will, however, get a free DFTBA wristband.
I did these Hanklerfishes while watching a show called Call the Midwife on Netflix.You should watch that show, it's super good. I cried, like a thousand times, but it's very good. If you're more in the mood for a book, this is a quick one by Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which is beautiful. And this, is Losers in Space by John Barnes. It's an excellent introduction to hard science fiction, if you've ever been interested in that.
If you wanna hear me ask some of the smartest people I know when they thought a million seconds ago was, I made a video about that, it's on hankschannel.
I also participated in Talk, a YouTube channel where people talk about interesting things. This week on Talk, people were talking about online education.
John, I will see you on Tuesday.