Bertram, the Googol Engine

Count the zeros - it's absolutely correct!

A conversation, some weeks ago. The scene: Tom and I searching the web for pictures of bridges, using a well known search engine.

  • Tom: "Daddy, what's a 'Google'?"
  • Me: "It's a website you can use to search for things."
  • Tom: "Why is it called 'Google'?"
  • Me: "Because there are lots of things and 'googol' is a very big number."
  • Tom: "How big, daddy?"
  • Me: "Very big - if you wanted to write it you'd put a one then a hundred zeros."
  • Thoughtful silence.

The other day:

  • Mummy: "What's that you're drawing, Tom?"
  • Tom (painstakingly counting zeros as he writes them onto a line drawing of a locomotive): "It's Bertram. He doesn't have a number, so I'm making him the googol engine."
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