We cannot grasp numbers as huge as these. Like primitive societies that count 'one, two, three, four, many', we all have our own number-comprehension ceilings. Do you feel a difference between pounds 450m and pounds 165m in the same way that you feel a difference between pounds 450 and pounds 165, or pounds 4.50 and pounds 1.65?
We can conceive of 1,000 people, which is a medium theatre full, or the 50,000 in a large football stadium, but how can we even think about feeding a million, who will not go home after the match?
Large numbers require primitive methods. In the 'one, two three, four, many' system, a dozen people may be three families. And a dozen families may be a village. pounds 450m for the British Library is pounds 7.50 for each of us. pounds 11.4bn borrowed in three months works out at pounds 2 from each Briton every day. Twelve billion Hiroshimas exploding on Jupiter sounds big, but according to Patrick Moore, is like 'throwing a baked bean at a charging rhino'. And the water needed to keep 1 million Rwandans alive would keep 100 taps running full blast day and night.Reuse content