October and Octogon

Steve   Saturday, January 03, 2004, 19:04 GMT
Why is October the name of the tenth month when an Octogon has eight sides to it?
to Steve   Sunday, January 04, 2004, 00:16 GMT
The original Roman year had 10 named months:

Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October [the 8th month], November, December, and probably two unnamed months in the dead of winter when not much happened in agriculture. The year began with Martius.

Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome circa 700 BC, added the two months Januarius and Februarius. He also moved the beginning of the year from Marius to Januarius and changed the number of days in several months to be odd, a lucky number. After Februarius there was occasionally an additional month of Intercalaris "intercalendar". This is the origin of the leap-year day being in February. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar (hence the Julian calendar) changing the number of days in many months and removing Intercalaris.
Jim   Monday, January 05, 2004, 00:03 GMT
Yep, that's about the size of it. Then there is an octopus with eight tenticles, an octillion which is a million to the power of eight (except if you go by the illogical American definition) and an octave with twelve semitones. Perhaps it should have been called a "dodecave" but there is a simple explanation for this name too: the black keys (on a piano/organ/harpsicord/etc.) aren't counted and the last white key counted is one octave above the first. That is "C D E F G A B C" makes eight notes though "C" is counted twice and the sharps/flats are ignored.
Steve   Monday, January 05, 2004, 18:14 GMT
I am American, and in the American system the numbers from thousand to decillion are.

Jim   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 00:59 GMT
Yes, that's the system and it's very illogical.


1) Million = 1000^2
2) Billion = 1000^3
3) Trillion = 1000^4
4) Quadrillion = 1000^5
5) Quintillion = 1000^6
6) Sextillion = 1000^7
7) Septillion = 1000^8
8) Octillion = 1000^9
9) Novillion = 1000^10
10) Decillion = 1000^11

Notice how the numbers don't match up. The American system makes no sense. Now have a look at the British system: much more logical, hey.


1) Million = 1,000,000^1
2) Billion = 1,000,000^2
3) Trillion = 1,000,000^3
4) Quadrillion = 1,000,000^4
5) Quintillion = 1,000,000^5
6) Sextillion = 1,000,000^6
7) Septillion = 1,000,000^7
8) Octillion = 1,000,000^8
9) Novillion = 1,000,000^9
10) Decillion = 1,000,000^10
Steve   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 01:47 GMT
I have always wondered why the british say ''thousand million'' instead of ''billion''. A thousand million is hard to say. That mansion was owned by a billionaire not a thousand millionaire in the American system. It's much easier to say ''billion''.
Steve   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 01:52 GMT
Both the British system and the American system make as much sense. They both make sense. I could say the British doesn't make sense, but I don't think that. I think both make just as much sense as each other.
Steve   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 02:43 GMT
They match up with ''thousand'' not ''million''. So yeah, they do match up in the sense that they match up with thousand. ''Thousand'' is one of the numbers although it doesn't end in -illion.
Steve   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 02:47 GMT
Scientists have to use what the American system calls ''a billion'', a lot. Like when they talk about the ages of stars. How long stars will live. How many stars there are in the galaxy. So, yeah it's easy for them to say ''billion'' instead of a ''thousand million''.
Jim   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 03:00 GMT
"Milliard" is easy to say, so is "milliardaire". A milliard is 1,000,000,000.

You could indeed say that the British system doesn't make sense and if you did I'd be able to say that you were wrong.

A bicycle has two wheels. A bicentenary is a two hundredth anniversary. A pair of bifocals are specks with two-part lenses. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Why then should a billion be a thousand to the power of three rather than a million to the power of two?

A tricycle has three wheels. A tripod has three legs. A trilobite had a tree-part body. A triceratops had three horns. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Why then should a trillion be a thousand to the power of four rather than a million to the power of three?

A gallon is four quarts. A quarter is a fourth part. A quadruplet is any of four children who are born to the same mother at the same time. A quadruplegic cannot use any of their four limbs. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Why then should a quadrillion be a thousand to the power of five rather than a million to the power of four?

I could easily go on up to ten but I'm sure that you get what I'm on about. In the British system the prefix has meaning: it is the power to which a million is raised. Also the "-illion" has meaning too: it refers to "million". In the American system neither the prefix nor the "-illion" have any meaning. The British system makes perfect sense is simple and logical. The American system is complex, illogical and makes no sense.
Jim   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 03:02 GMT
Scientist are free to choose what system to use just like any ordinary human being: there's nothing American about being a scientist.
Jim   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 03:03 GMT
So, it's not a matching up we're talking about but a mismatching up.
Steve   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 04:51 GMT
Wouldn't it be crazy if they decided to make a new system to replace the British and American system. This would sound weird. But, suppose they decided to make a new system and just completely throw the word ''thousand'' out of the system.

The system would be like.

Million 10^3 1,000
Billion 10^6 1,000,000
Trillion 10^9 1,000,000,000
Quadrillion 10^12 1,000,000,000,000
Quintillion 10^15 1,000,000,000,000,000

That system would make sense because the terms Bi- and Tri- etc. would be used correctly. That system would seem weird to both Americans and Britons. I would not agree with such an idea. There's nothing wrong with the American System or the British System. There just two different systems. And, they both make sense because they both exist.
Jim   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 07:20 GMT
The system of English spelling exists but doesn't make sense.

The system you suggest is really just the British system minus names for odd powers of a thousand. It is in the British system that "bi-", "tri-", etc. are used correctly.
Steve   Wednesday, January 07, 2004, 16:10 GMT
I used to always wonder why a quintillion was ''1,000,000,000,000,000,000'' with six sets of zeroes and not ''1,000,000,000,000,000'' with five sets of zeroes. That was before I knew about the British System.