Tonawanda News — A footnote to those of you who generously donated to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive: Joanne Guercio from the Salvation Army noted that 300 families and 540 children were served at Christmas. An amazing — and very sad — total. Just remember, you can donate to the Salvation Army any time, you don’t have to wait until next December.
You math-lovers were quick to respond about how to judge trillions of dollars.
Jim James emailed that he liked George Soemann’s facts in last week’s column on how many seconds are in a million and billion and to see what the U.S. $16 trillion debt looks like in seconds, Jim wrote: “A trillion is 2056.71 years. We’re in trouble.”
Peter Gfroerer also responded:
“For your mathematically challenged readers: one day is 86,400 seconds, 11 days is 950,400 seconds, (not 1 million as you reported.) And, a trillion seconds would be how many years?” (See Jim James’ answer above.)
Speaking of Jim, another Jim, Jim Horton, emailed that he and Jim James’ dad, Don, hung around together when in elementary school at Highland.
“The last section of your article refreshed my memories back to when I was teaching seventh and eighth-graders at Tonawanda Junior High,” Jim Horton emailed. “I used to put $1,000,000,000 (1 billion) on the board to get kids to estimate ‘How Big Is a Billion.’ ( I agree with you that 16 trillion is unbelievable.) Here’s a way to teach it:
“I would put $1,000,000,000 on the board and ask: ‘If I sent Johnny up to the top of the Empire State Building with $1,000,000,000 bills and had him throw it over one at a time at one second intervals, how long would it take to throw it away? You can imagine the answers I got, but if you figure it out: $60/minute, 60x60 = 3,600/hour, 3600x24 = 86400/day, 86,400x365 = 31,536,000/ year; 1,000,000,000 divided by 31,536,000 = 31.7 years.
“If you think about it, it would have to be done without stopping for 31.7 years (24/7), and no one could ever count to 1,000,000,000 in a lifetime. Impossible to say most numbers in one second. Imagine how big 1 trillion is.”
Enough math which has never been my subject!
Phyllis Phillips emailed that when she was in Sydney working for NBC for the 2000 Olympics, one of the volunteers, Jennifer Baus, lived in Lane Cove, New South Wales, Australia.
“We have corresponded each Christmas,” Phyllis wrote. “This year on her Christmas card, she wrote the following:
“Just wanted to let you know that the recent tragedy in Connecticut has touched ‘all Australians.’ This awful news is in all our papers and across the news and radio. So many precious little lives taken. Our thoughts ‘down under’ are with America.”
Phyllis said her adventures with the Olympics begin after Bell Aerospace downsized. She was hired by the ticket department at the World University Games Buffalo ‘93 as receptionist. Her boss was Warren Shanahan.
“After those Games, Warren was hired by the US Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs Colo. as their ticket manager,” Phyllis emailed. “When the ‘96 Atlanta Summer Olympic games were being planned, he called myself, Donna Raczynski and Lois Boehm to see if we’d be interested in working as USOC volunteers with everything paid.
“After those games, Warren left the US Olympics and went to work for NBC as their ticket department manager for the 2000 Sydney Games. ... There were four of us on the NBC ticket payroll. We had Australian volunteers who assisted us. . .. We were in Sydney for two months. Jennifer was one of our volunteers. We keep in touch now by Facebook, and Christmas cards and notes.”
After Sydney, Phyllis worked as a volunteer for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, then as a volunteer for the Athens Summer Games. Security was “unbelievable.” During the actual Games, she said the entire USOC was housed on a cruise ship with very secure security, including state department personnel, dogs, sonar and a large protective barrier that surrounded the ship. A gunship was posted just outside the harbor.
Quite a story, Phyllis, thanks for sharing.
Seems this column has attracted wonderful people in the community who are doing great things, under the radar, so to speak. First was what to do with yarn (still getting donations here at the NEWS,) then it was what to do with hardcover books and the response was also amazing and now a new quest: what to do with Christmas cards? A woman called to ask the question and said in the past she would cut up the cards and use them for Christmas present tags, but no longer does that. Anyone know of a group or school or health facility that could use the cards? Give a call or email your suggestions.
FYI: 50 years ago this week, the price of a first-class U.S. postage stamp increased from 4 to 5 cents.
Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgContact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email email@example.com