Not Even In One Thousand Years

How long do you think it takes to say a number like 998,756 aloud? It took me a little over 2 seconds to say that very number the first time I tried. If I hurry, I can say it clearly in about 1.75 seconds. Of course, 998,756 seems like a tongue twister of an integer to pull from a hat. You might imagine there are plenty of much easier numbers to say, but actually there aren't (alephly speaking). If I were to pick a number like 50,000,000,000, that's easy to say. "Fifty billion." That took me 0.6 seconds. But if you were to count up from 1 to 50,000,000,000, it's fair to say the great majority of the numbers in between require a bit of effort to pronounce clearly.

So how long would it take to count from 1 to 50,000,000,000 aloud? I'd guestimate it takes about 2 or 3 seconds to say most numbers, but let's be sporting and imagine a quick talker requires about 1 second per integer over the course of a recitation. So how long would that take if you could recite the whole numbers from 1 to 50,000,000,000, 1 number per second, non-stop for as long as it takes to do that quickly? According to Google, it's about 1,584 years. I got something closer to 1,585, but computers are notoriously bad at math.

So, if you were to count from 1 to 50,000,000,000 non-stop, really fast, it would take you about 1,585 years, give or take a few for leap days and rounding errors. And here we get around to the point. It turns out well over 50,000,000,000 chickens are slaughtered world-wide for food each year, which seems like a lot to me.