Sunday, February 25, 2018

Kids these days

Everyone's a little different when it comes to getting those pesky large numbers into headlines. You can be extra-formal and insist on the zeroes, or you can guess that your audience can figure out B for "billion" and T for "trillion." You can use M for "million," unless the greisly voice of your first editing teacher is shouting from beyond the grave that M really means "thousand," for which you can't use T (above), so you probably fall back on K.

G for thousand is a little more tabloid (in the spinning-front-page-indicates-passage-of-time sense), partly because it's tightly restricted. It doesn't mean "thousand," it means "thousand dollars" (or pounds, for which the OED has a cite from 1958). So somebody at Fox reached one shelf too far for the hed above, but you have to admit it has sort of a grapefruit-in-the-face charm to it.

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Blogger Electric Dragon said...

My first instinct was to interpret it as "Giga", then go "wait, the Universe itself is only 13.7 G years old" before thinking of G for Grand.

(yes, giga-year (Gy) is in use, mainly by astronomers, who have a habit of inventing their own units. My favourite is the "foe", which stands for 10 to the fifty-one ergs, which is about how much energy is released by a supernova, or by the Sun in its entire life.)

4:16 PM, February 26, 2018  

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