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United States

National Debt Clock Overflowed, Extended By a Digit 696

hackingbear writes "The National Debt Counter, erected in 1989 when the US debt was 'merely' a tiny $2.7 trillion, has been moving so much that it recently ran out of digits to display the ballooning figure: $10,150,603,734,720, or roughly $10.2 trillion, as of Saturday afternoon. To accommodate the extra '1,' the clock was hacked: the '1' from "$10.2" has been moved left to the LCD square once occupied solely by the digital dollar sign. A non-digital, improvised dollar sign has been pasted next to the '1.' It will be replaced in 2009 with a new clock able to track debt up to a quadrillion dollars, which is a '1' followed by 15 zeros. That should be good enough for a few more months at least, I believe." Adds reader MarkusQ, "I know Dick Cheney has assured us that 'Deficits don't matter' but I can't help wondering if we should be fixing the problem rather than the sign."

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.