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Newsletter: A Trillion in Perspective

(Volume 1, Issue 21)

Topic of the week: A Trillion in Perspective

The concept of a trillion has been referenced more than in any time in history. FAANGs have surpassed $1 trillion in market capitalization. The Federal Reserve's balance sheet has exploded beyond $5 trillion. The net worth of today's billionaires is forecasted to surpass $1 trillion in their lifetimes (the wonders of compounding).

How big is 1 trillion, really? Converting the concept of a trillion into time, distance and volume gives perspective on how mind-blowing it is. For example:

  • Time: If we traveled back in time by 1 trillion seconds, we would be sharing the earth Neanderthals and hobbits (Paleolithic era 31,710 years ago).

  • Distance: If we walked forward 1 trillion steps, we would have walked around the Earth 18,715 times.

  • Volume: If we had 1 trillion tablespoons of water, we would fill the volume of 14 Empire State Buildings (71 bn Tbsp / Empire State Building = 256 Tbsp / Gallon * 7.5 Gallon / Cubic feet * 37m Cubic feet / Empire State Building).


Quote of the week

“I said: what about my eyes?

He said: Keep them on the road.

I said: What about my passion?

He said: Keep it burning.

I said: What about my heart?

He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?

I said: Pain and sorrow.

He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

— Rumi


Three recent articles

1. "I stand on the shoulder of giants," wrote Isaac Newton. Ryan Holiday gives us shoulders to stand on in 33 things I learned from people smarter than me.

2. Do you know the size of stars? Tim Urban from Wait but Why? uses visualizations to observe the relative size of almost anything . Recently, he released a paid app called the Universe in a Nutshell ($$) to fathom the relative size of things in the universe.

3. The inventor of the Rubik's Cube, Erno Rubik, recently published an autobiography, Cubed. In this interview by the Deccan Herald, Rubik discusses how his passion, focus and creativity from an early age led to the creation of the Rubik's Cube and how he is still pursuing new discoveries from it.

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