Wednesday, 10 March 2010

More Big Numbers

That's a Lotta Watts

And speaking of the sun's total energy output, as we were here, I forgot to explain the quiet chuckle which you might have heard just then. If you were in my house, that is, during the first programme of the tremendous new TV series Wonders of the Solar System, presented by ex-D:Ream keyboardist and the BBC's new go-to guy for physics, Professor Brian Cox.

This would be better told as a cartoon, ideally; but without the required skills, all I can offer is the following background.

There's a scene in the great 1999 Star Trek spoof movie Galaxy Quest set at a show convention, where the announcer, introducing Tim Allen's character, the main star of the TV series, builds the tension by simulating an echo using just his voice:

And finally, my fellow Questerians, the brave Commander of the NSEA Protector: Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter, Quincy, Quincy, Quincy, Quincy, Taggart, Taggart, Taggart, Taggart!

Now it turns out that Professor Brian didn't have the benefit of my previous post when making his BBC programme, so when it came time to divulge his big powerful number, the phrase point three hellawatts probably didn't occur to him. Instead, knowing how badly such numbers can confound the layman, he went with:

Three hundred million million million million Watts.

Which you know, kinda made it sound like he was just saying "300MW", but in a really ham dramatic way.

I know, but it sounded a lot funnier in my head...

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