Numbers — especially big numbers — can seem pretty abstract. One way to help people better understand huge numbers is by providing context based on things they do understand. Free web service NumberQuotes spits out related statistics containing any number you throw at it.
For example, if you wanted to give context to a number like “50 billion”, punching it into NumberQuotes returns things like “the 2008 GDP for Bulgaria”, or “50 billion dollars would buy a 2010 Cadillac Escalade for everyone living in Indianapolis City, Indiana.” Similarly, punching in “15” returns “the population of Friendship town, Oklahoma”, “15 iPhones would buy 1.49 MacBooks”, and strangest of all, “15 hot dogs laid next to each other would reach as far as 1.18 dollar bills.” All you do to get a quote for your number is type it in on NumberQuotes’ home page — you’ll be instantly greeted with a bunch of other statistics pertaining to that number (or one close to it). Some of them make a lot of sense, and some are just downright random.
It’s clear the database contains a few choice statistics like city populations, GDPs, the prices of a few popular consumer items and apparently the width of a hot dog. It then uses these things to calculate statistics, which aren’t always useful if they’re not whole numbers (or something that doesn’t mean anything, like hot dogs sitting next to each other) — but darn it if it won’t give you at least 10 statistics related to whatever number you put in. So if you’re giving a presentation and you need to put something in perspective, NumberQuotes will give you some fast ideas, and possibly some actual interesting facts, if you’re lucky. Hit the link to try it out for yourself.