Significant decimal “birthdays”

David Blaine’s latest stunt is to stay awake for 1 million seconds, or a little over eleven days. It triggered me to work out other decimal birthdays.

If you’re very, very lucky, you’ll get 41 significant birthdays in your lifetime. Significant here means a power of ten, in either seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years.

Your first twelve occured during your first day on the planet (one second, minute, hour, day; ten seconds, minutes, hours; 100 seconds, minutes, 1,000 seconds, minutes, 10,000 seconds), another seven before you were a month old, and a further seven up to and including your one year birthday.

Another seven takes you to your ten year birthday, including 100m seconds shortly after you’re three years and two months old. Another five take you to your billionth second, at 31 years and eight months.

Thereafter, you’ve got to wait until you’re a little over 83 years old to celebrate your 1,000th month alive. After the queen marks your trivial 100 year birthday with a telegram (or does she send an email nowadays?), you’ll be lucky to hit your millionth hour, at 114 years and one month. Only six men have ever lived to that age, and only two living people, both women, have made it that far. The third, Gertrude Baines of Los Angeles, will reach that milestone on 4 May. Next up would be 100m minutes, aged 190. No one’s made it quite that far.


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