## Conversations about the largest number

We're at a restaurant waiting for our food. My 9yo is discussing large numbers.

Sempi: Did you know that googol is 1 followed by 100 zeroes?

Me: Yeah.

Sempi: And googolplex means 1 raised to the power of googol.

Me: Technically it is 10 to the power of googol because 1 to the power of anything is just 1.

Sempi: Ok. (whatever).

Me: Also Google is named after googol.

Sempi: I know.

Sempi: Oooh. Cool!

Vian (6yo): Is that the biggest number in the universe.

Yoshi: I read that there aren't googolplex number of atoms in the universe.

Me: Well technically there is a number that is so unimaginably large. It is called Graham's Number.

Sempi and Vian: Oh. How many zeros does it have? 1000?

Me: No it is so big that you can't even imagine it. (I try reading the wikipedia entry without success)

Me: I can't quite explain it very well because I don't fully understand it myself.

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Next day I'm walking Vian to school. We're doing imaginative "talk play". Vian is describing a generator in Minecraft that can produce something infinitely.

Vian: It just keeps generating it forever. Actually that's not true, it only goes up to that number that you couldn't explain.

Me: Graham's number?

Vian: Yeah, that.

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I'm so proud that Graham's number is a casual quantity in our household now.

## Bejeezus

The kids like to scare me by trying to jump out from under the covers and yell "BOO!". I like to pretend that I'm scared of their tactics. The other day I decided to return the favor by suddenly entering their room and yelling "BOO!". I managed to scare Vian and he started giggling in fear and shrunk back under his comforter.

Me: Hey Vian, looks like I scared the bejeezus out of you.

Vian: No! No! I'm not scared. I don't even have any bejeezus, so you didn't really scare any bejeezus.

## Conversation with an 8yo

Me: Whoa! It's very late, we should have started getting ready for bed 20 mins ago.

Sempi: 20 minutes isn't that much. If you think about it, it is only 4 time 5 minutes.

Sempi: And if you think about it, 5 minutes is just 5 times 1 minute.

Sempi: And if you really think about it, 1 minute isn't that long.

That's the spirit. I should remind him of this conversation when he starts doing planks.

## Conversations with an 8yo

Sempi gets very creative when he's building Lego structures. So I asked him about it.

Me: How did you get so good at building these lego creations, Sempi?

Sempi: I don't know, I just like building things.

Me: Would you say that I should just keep building things and I'll get better over time?

Sempi: It is easy to create something for yourself. You know what you want and you can make a place for a boat or an airplane in your creations. It comes easily when you know what you want.

This sounded vaguely familiar and then I realized this is a paraphrasing of one of Paul Graham's advice about startups.

Build something you yourself want.

## Michelangelo

Tonight we read Calvin and Hobbes for bedtime. After I read the comic strip above, I tried to explain a little about Michelangelo.

Me: Remember, Michelangelo, we saw the statues he made when we went to Italy?

Sempi: Yeah.

Me: He's a great sculptor. Do you guys remember the David statue?

Vian: I know who Michelangelo is, he's a TURTLE!

o_O