My mom sent me an e-mail this morning and, rather than grade more tests, I figured I’d put it to the mathematical test. E-mail is replicated after the jump.

How many zeros in a billion?

This is too true to be funny.

The next time you hear a politician use the
word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the ‘politicians’ spending
YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
but one advertising agency did a good job of
putting that figure into some perspective in
one of it’s releases.

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were
living in the Stone Age.

A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

A billion dollars ago was only
8 hours and 20 minutes,
at the rate our government
is spending it.

The rest of the e-mail can be found here.

My main complaint here is with A, which states that a billion seconds ago, the year was 1959. Well, a billion seconds divided by 3600 seconds in an hour divided by 24 hours in a day divided by 365.25 days in a year gives us 31.69 years. Let’s round up to 32, which brings us all the way back to 1976, if my math is correct. Okay, okay, so maybe the e-mail is a tad old. For it to give us 1959, it would have had to have been written in 1991, which the ad may very well have been, but time, amazing as it seems, moves forward.

The other numbers are roughly correct, though talking about the stone age and a time when man wasn’t on two feet is very vague because those times take place over hundred thousands of years and billions of years, respectively. The e-mail continues to take an ultra-conservative approach towards taxation, insisting that New Orleans should not be rebuilt yadda yadda yadda. My feeling about taxes has always been that I’m fine with them as long as I feel like we’re getting something out of them.

The most American thing in the world, the thing that has been in place from the very beginning, is this hatred of taxation. And yet the conservative party is the one who prides itself in its patriotism. I wonder, if they like their country so much, why not donate some money that way?