




Inconceivable
In order to fully appreciate the magnitude of spacetime previously discussed, and the magnitude of the numbers in the upcoming discussion, it’s important to understand and appreciate orders of magnitude. To help visualize it, take an abnormally large sheet of graph paper which cannot possibly exist because those annoying hippies have some sort of problem with you wiping out every single plant on the planet to make it, and still not having enough. Said graph paper is divided into one centimeter increments. It doesn’t have to be long, a mere 1 centimeter in length, less if you like, and somewhat wide. How wide? Since we’re only graphing less than 30 orders of magnitude measured in centimeters, it doesn’t appear, at first glance, to be too wide. 1 order of magnitude starts at 10 centimeters. 2 orders of magnitude starts at 100 centimeters. 3 orders of magnitude starts at 1000 centimeters. As you may have noticed, each order of magnitude starts at an exponent of 10 and the distance between each order of magnitude becomes larger as the order of magnitude becomes larger. The distance between 0 and 1 order of magnitude is up to 10 centimeters. The distance between 2 orders of magnitude and 3 orders of magnitude is up to 900 centimeters. The magnitude of an order of magnitude depends on where you find it. The distance between 10 orders of magnitude and 11 orders of magnitude is up to 900,000 kilometers, which is out past the moon somewhere, unless you have your graph going in a different direction. The phrase up to is an important detail. The distance between two consecutive orders of magnitude can be infinitesimal. 100,000,000 and 999,999,999 are both 8 orders of magnitude. But one of them is 900,000,000 units from 9 orders of magnitude and the other is 1 unit. Typically, people don’t talk orders of magnitude when miniscule units of separation are involved. As the name indicates, it’s used to indicate magnitude. With each increasing order of magnitude, the distance between the orders of magnitude becomes exponentially larger. It starts out slowly, but not for long. Don’t be deceived by a two digit exponent. It doesn’t take long to get to gargantuan numbers. Remember, we’re measuring in centimeters. The maximum distance between 28 orders of magnitude and 29 orders of magnitude is greater than the diameter of the universe (8.8 x 10e28 cm). The diameter of the entire universe measured in centimeters is 28 orders of magnitude larger than one centimeter. So while you can see that 28 is not a spectacular number, 28 orders of magnitude is something most people can’t wrap their heads around. If you think you can, you probably aren’t thinking hard enough. At this point, the orders of magnitude become inconceivable. ‘You can keep using that word. It means what you think it means.’ And 7.0 x 10e245 is so far beyond inconceivable, you can’t conceive of how inconceivable it is. Millions, billions, and trillions start to become microscopic at these larger scales. And in the next section we will see that we’re barely scratching the surface.
In order to fully appreciate the magnitude of spacetime previously discussed, and the magnitude of the numbers in the upcoming discussion, it’s important to understand and appreciate orders of magnitude. To help visualize it, take an abnormally large sheet of graph paper which cannot possibly exist because those annoying hippies have some sort of problem with you wiping out every single plant on the planet to make it, and still not having enough. Said graph paper is divided into one centimeter increments. It doesn’t have to be long, a mere 1 centimeter in length, less if you like, and somewhat wide. How wide? Since we’re only graphing less than 30 orders of magnitude measured in centimeters, it doesn’t appear, at first glance, to be too wide. 1 order of magnitude starts at 10 centimeters. 2 orders of magnitude starts at 100 centimeters. 3 orders of magnitude starts at 1000 centimeters. As you may have noticed, each order of magnitude starts at an exponent of 10 and the distance between each order of magnitude becomes larger as the order of magnitude becomes larger. The distance between 0 and 1 order of magnitude is up to 10 centimeters. The distance between 2 orders of magnitude and 3 orders of magnitude is up to 900 centimeters. The magnitude of an order of magnitude depends on where you find it. The distance between 10 orders of magnitude and 11 orders of magnitude is up to 900,000 kilometers, which is out past the moon somewhere, unless you have your graph going in a different direction. The phrase up to is an important detail. The distance between two consecutive orders of magnitude can be infinitesimal. 100,000,000 and 999,999,999 are both 8 orders of magnitude. But one of them is 900,000,000 units from 9 orders of magnitude and the other is 1 unit. Typically, people don’t talk orders of magnitude when miniscule units of separation are involved. As the name indicates, it’s used to indicate magnitude. With each increasing order of magnitude, the distance between the orders of magnitude becomes exponentially larger. It starts out slowly, but not for long. Don’t be deceived by a two digit exponent. It doesn’t take long to get to gargantuan numbers. Remember, we’re measuring in centimeters. The maximum distance between 28 orders of magnitude and 29 orders of magnitude is greater than the diameter of the universe (8.8 x 10e28 cm). The diameter of the entire universe measured in centimeters is 28 orders of magnitude larger than one centimeter. So while you can see that 28 is not a spectacular number, 28 orders of magnitude is something most people can’t wrap their heads around. If you think you can, you probably aren’t thinking hard enough. At this point, the orders of magnitude become inconceivable. ‘You can keep using that word. It means what you think it means.’ And 7.0 x 10e245 is so far beyond inconceivable, you can’t conceive of how inconceivable it is. Millions, billions, and trillions start to become microscopic at these larger scales. And in the next section we will see that we’re barely scratching the surface.