Wednesday, April 14, 2004

complete and perfect spring

Hi Neil,

Do you think it is time to contact Marvel about 1602 #8? I have checked their website, in advance of a disappointing trip to my local comic book store, only to find that it is not listed for release today, or any time soon from what I could tell. Que pasa?


I've already started getting in messages from people who've already read it, so I think you can assume it did ship today, and that a visit to your comic shop won't be for nothing.

Lots of people have written to let me know that the French use Billion in the British way, as explained in yesterday's posting; several of you have pointed out that even the BBC don't use the British Way all the time, and this was probably the most complete and informative post on the subject.

Hi Neil,

Thanks for the little math/language lesson yesterday, I wasn't aware that there was a difference between British and American English. Being only familiar with the American English way of counting big numbers I thought the difference was between English and other languages. Because contrary to what you say, in French we use the same system as in British English with the addition of -ard words. This seems to be also the case in German, Italian and Spanish (without the -ard words in the case of Spanish). In French we use:

1,000,000 - million
1,000,000,000 - milliard
1,000,000,000,000 - billion
1,000,000,000,000,000 - billiard
1,000,000,000,000,000,000 - trillion
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 - trilliard

Your confusion may come from the fact that both systems were invented in French, but now we only use the so-called British system. For more fun with big numbers you can turn to Asian languages where names are given to numbers with a multiple of four zeros rather than three. Examples (in
Japanese): 10,000 - man, 100,000,000 - oku and 1,000,000,000,000 - chou. A few links where I found some of those info:


Many thanks.

It's Spring. It's suddenly and completely and perfectly Spring. There's a green haze on the trees, and the snowdrops are blooming like anything. I've uncovered the blueberry bushes, and today Lorraine and I tromped through the woods, discovering that recent flooding had given us a sandy beach-like thing down by the swimming hole where there was none before, washed several bridges away, and, in a few places, changed the path of the creek (which is how they describe a small river in this area). I've admired the fallen trees this morning, and the broken branches, and I've hauled many of them off the paths. I've bounced on the trampoline with Maddy and vaccuumed up several pints of the evil ladybird-like beetles from the windows. I've made several phone calls. And I've written stuff. Definitely Spring.

(And if you've been having Spring for a while, where you live, bear in mind that in the upper middle of America Spring turns up very late, and only lasts for a week or so before it turns into the mosquito season where they mend the roads and it's hot and the lightning storms that end the long days where it was too hot to think are better than fireworks.)