[conspire] Billions and billions (was: gparted)

Breen Mullins bpm at sdf.org
Thu Apr 1 19:14:01 PDT 2010

* Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> [2010-04-01 17:45 -0700]:

>A bit of bonus trivia, as long as I'm writing:
>Those of us who converse with English-speakers from elsewhere need to
>be careful about yet another USA-versus-everyone-else usage difference:
>"billion", "trillion", etc.
>In the UK and most other countries, a billion is a million million
>(10^12), a trillion is a million million million (10^18), etc.
>In the USA, a billion is a _thousand_ million (10^9).  A trillion is a
>_thousand thousand_ million (10^12).

That's a distinction that appears to have gone by the board. 

According to a Guardian column here


the government surrendered to the American way back in the 70s.

The BBC refers to the world's population as 6 billion, with no 
additional explanation.

It's still a nicety to be aware of, though. And being a linguistic
conservative, I admire the tenacity of those who won't give up.

Breen Mullins
bpm at sdf.org

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