Number Confusion

Number Confusion

I haven’t done maths in a while. I mean, I’ve done budgets, spreadsheets and cashing up etc, but nothing that I haven’t had to do. I’ve always liked numbers, but it’s one of those things that normally gets pushed aside for writing, or music, or basically anything else.

Yesterday was different. I was 4 hours into an 8 hour shift, and I had run out of things to doodle. I needed something to do, so for some reason I turned to maths.

It started with simple questions. It turned into a game, which I honestly had no reason why I was playing – other than boredom and the fact that I had 1 customer every 10 minutes.

The rules were simple. Start with 2 x 2, and then whatever the answer is times that by itself until you get to the biggest number ever. I had to do it without a calculator, and if you want proof of this I can always show you my workings out (I think they’re actually pretty ingenious and clever, but then I haven’t done maths since I was 16.) I’d then check with a calculator, and if I got it right, then I would continue on and on and on.

2 x 2 = 4
4 x 4 = 16
16 x 16 = 138  WRONG
(16 x 16 = 256.)

I GOT IT WRONG – which meant I had to start the same thing, with the next number up.

3 x 3 = 9
9 x 9 = 81
81 x 81 = 7561  WRONG
(81 x 81 = 6561)

Moving onto 4s…

4 x 4 = 16
16 x 16 = 256
256 x 256 = 65, 536

At this point, I could have given up, but for some reason, I hadn’t lost yet, so I continued…

65, 536 x 65, 536 = 4,294,967,296

NOW THAT was a big number, so big in-fact that my calculator couldn’t actually give me the answer, as it was more digits than it could deal with.

I decided to stop there. I mean, it was a big number. A VERY BIG NUMBER. Which got me thinking, exactly how would you say that number.

My final answer was:

Four Quadrillion, two hundred and ninety-four million, nine hundred and sixty-seven thousand, two hundred and ninety-six. 

Now I have no way of checking… but if it does seem right. If you happen to read this, any chance you could tell me if its right?

Anyway, that was my shift, and I was actually pretty impressed with myself.


p.s. I just found out that Excel 97/2000/2002/2003 could not import text files larger than 65, 536 rows. This is nothing to do with anything, but google wouldn’t even give me an answer for 65, 536 x 65, 536….

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