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UK Billion vs US Billion: Why the difference?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
OK, here in UK a Billion equals
100 Million whereas in the US it
is 1,000 Million. What gives?

US: (10 to Power of)
10 to the 1 = 10
10 to the 2 = 100
10 to the 3 = 1,000 (Thousand)
10 to the 6 = 1,000,000 (Million)
10 to the 9 = 1,000,000,000 (Billion)

UK
10 to the 3 = 1,000
10 to the 6 = 1,000,000 (Million)
10 to the 8 = 100,000,000 (UK Billion)

What gives. I read a newspaper article that said that 30 Billion people around the world will be watching World Cup. I know that the world has 6 Billion but maybe the UK thinks there are 60 Billion.

BTW, I am American living in UK. I get confused when I read that some Company like Vodaphone lost £20 billion pounds.
Now, I studied mathematics ("maths they call it here), and I understood a billion to be 10 to the 9th power, a trillion 10 to the 12th and so on.

Can anyone enlighten my as to why the UK has this "backwards" billion counting system? Its bad enough you Brit drive on the "wrong" side of the road!

Thx!
post #2 of 13
Id guess that is a newspaper typo, pretty much everyone in the UK uses the american billion, besides, the real UK billion is a million x million, which is not 10 power 8.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by MarcUK:
<strong>Id guess that is a newspaper typo, pretty much everyone in the UK uses the american billion, besides, the real UK billion is a million x million, which is not 10 power 8.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Thx. i knew it was a wrong. a million million = UK Billion or 10 to the 12th which is US trillion. I get it now. :-)
post #4 of 13
In France a million is 1000 000, a billion is 1000 000 000 000 10e12 a trillion 10e18 a quatrillion 10e 24 a quintillion 10e 30 ....
The US billion is a milliard in french , the word millardaire design a man who own more than one billion or milliard.
But for money for many people a milliard was 10 000 000 of francs not 1 000 000 000, because before after the year 1968 a new franc cost 100 old francs. so many old people continue to count in old francs.
Now it's finish it is the euro. But i am still tranlsating in Franc : difficult to change of money after 35 years of use.
post #5 of 13
American trillion = UK billion

The English are funny with numbers.

NEVER MIND the ohsosilly measuring systems! Dear Lord, why can't I be used to something logical like metrics! No I have to be American and think in feet and miles! God I hate it.
Ounces, fluid ounces. Grains. Carats. IUs. Pints. Hogsheads. Barrels. Feet. yeards. Incehs. Miles. Tons. Pounds. Farenheight.

Damn.
And what about time huh! Why do we have to go with the stupid twelve-sixty-sixty system?

Why not go with something you can count easily in hour head or on your hands... Like... shorten the second a little
100 sec = 1 minute
100 minutes = 1 hour
10 hours = 1 day
100,000 seconds in a day

86400 normal seconds in a day.
post #6 of 13
[quote]Originally posted by cdhostage:
<strong>American trillion = UK billion

The English are funny with numbers.

.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Their system is more logical : a million is 1000 000 10 e6 the billion have to be logically 10 e 6 higher more important : 10 e 12 and not 10 e 9. Do you find logical that in the US system from zero to the million there is 10 e 6 nd that from the billion to the trillion it's only 10 e 3 ?
In an other way the brithish or french billion is not very usefull concerning money ...

For the metric system i agree with you , however i found strange that the US did not adopt it : for the english it's normal : the metric system is a pure product of the french revolution, better ask a brit to die than use it
post #7 of 13
Actually I think this system would worked better:
every three zeros you count up by one

1 = one
1000 = one million
1000000 = one billion
1000000000 = one trillion
quadrillion
quintillion
sextillion
septillion
octillion
noventillion (?)
dectillion
post #8 of 13
I can't seem to comprehend there being another way to count, it's completely beyond my understanding. I think the US system makes sense:
one thousand = one thousand "ones"
one million = one thousand "thousands"
one billion = one thousand "millions"

Our system is based on 1000 and it makes perfect sense
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post #9 of 13
[quote]For the metric system i agree with you , however i found strange that the US did not adopt it : for the english it's normal : the metric system is a pure product of the french revolution, better ask a brit to die than use it
<hr></blockquote>

Hi, I am a french guy living in the UK.

Note that since 2000, metric is the official system in the UK.
Emperial measures are not explained in the school.
Metric is compulsary on shop tags (they now sell litres of milk, kilograms of bananas...)
Celcius is also used a lot now.

Road sign still show miles, and flat surface is still given in sq feet.

Voila.

Philippe

[ 05-30-2002: Message edited by: philrobin ]</p>
post #10 of 13
[quote]Originally posted by philrobin:
<strong>

Hi, I am a french guy living in the UK.

Note that since 2000, metric is the official system in the UK.
Emperial measures are not explained in the school.
Metric is compulsary on shop tags (they now sell litres of milk, kilograms of bananas...)
Celcius is also used a lot now.

Road sign still show miles, and flat surface is still given in sq feet.

Voila.

Philippe

[ 05-30-2002: Message edited by: philrobin ]</strong><hr></blockquote>
Now i understand why TI live in Swiss


[ 05-30-2002: Message edited by: powerdoc ]</p>
post #11 of 13
I prefer feet and inches over cm. For the simple fact they are easier to work with. This most is due to the fact that fractions can show numbers you cannot easily display with decimals, like 1/3 and 1/15. Also 10 is divisable only by 2 and 5, while 12 (wrt feet) is divisable by 2, 3, 4, and 6. Inches are binary. You reference their parts with denominators that are binary (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, etc.)

Miles are strange. They have a number of feet that is not a useful measure. It should have been 4096 feet (a binary number) or something like that. Therefore half a mile would be easy to deduce (2048 feet). Quarter mile (1024 feet) etc.

Celcius is not any better than Fahrenheit but it does base itself on the physical manifestations of water (boiling and freezing points). But one is not inherently better than the other IMO.

Weights are better in the metrics arena i must agree.

Numbers? I like the US method best because it is easy and well known.
post #12 of 13
My Intro to Programming class taught me how to count in different bases. Very annoying at first, but you get used to it.

I agree - 12 is a better number to use as a base than 10. But our main number system is base ten. Maybe the first spacetravlers should be gengineered to have 12 fingers and be raised in base 12 environment...

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 a b c 10 11 12 13... cc 100 101... ccc 1000
post #13 of 13

Why don't you just commit to learning the metric system and standard system ambidextrously? it's not impossible... and most product labels in the US include the metric system so it's not even difficult.

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