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Just a muse

Last night, in a lightening moment, I was hit by a very amusing suggestion: what if we all talked and traded currency in hex? Or even generally talked hex?

"Hey, how much? Those half a dozen o bananas?"

"Yeah, $24F"

"We fell in love at the age of 5D and were happily married by F98Ab"

"My son just turned 2A, you know?"

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, April 16, 2004

Deep consequences.  Eight fingers on each hand means no middle finger.

Guess you'd give people "the fingers."

Tayssir John Gabbour
Friday, April 16, 2004

What if?

Well it would be no different to if we all spoke decimal.

Really, we are so used to decimal that it is our default language, just like English (for most of us).

I think if we really used base 16 for our default mathematical calculations then I would suggest that the symbols 'a' 'b' 'c' 'd' 'e' 'f' would not be used, instead they would be replaced by symbols that are soley numeric.

Aussie Chick
Friday, April 16, 2004

[Reply]
Deep consequences.  Eight fingers on each hand means no middle finger.

Guess you'd give people "the fingers."
[/Reply]

ha..ha...ROFLMAOL...F92A8..he..haa... I just love you all. That was one of the funniest things I've heard in my entire life.

ha...ha....

Thanks!

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, April 16, 2004

Cassandra wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------------------
I think if we really used base 16 for our default mathematical calculations then I would suggest that the symbols 'a' 'b' 'c' 'd' 'e' 'f' would not be used, instead they would be replaced by symbols that are soley numeric.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

That is an interesting thought. I am reminded of another thought I had last night. I pondered over the purpose of having the hex system and the octal representation in the first place. "Whhhhhy?", I thought aloud.

It dawned on me that it was for convinience in representation and conveyance of values that these systems were made. Just like a Kilo Anything is a thousand of those things. It hurts the tongue and the dentures to pronounce, say, thirty six thousand, more than it would hurt to pronounce "thirty six kay". Saying "Three million four hundred and twenty six thousand" hurts like mad hell, so we shrink all of that into a convinient form of representation and say XX megs or gigs.

Because writing, say just, 255 in binary is like very very loud, so we use hex and simply say FF instead of the jaw hammering 1111 1111.

Now, I thought, what was the limit of convinience? Could we add a few more bits to the hex? Ok, we can't add anything other than powers of 2, so what if we had a system of representing 2^5 or 32 bits in one character? But that's not desirable since a byte has 8 bits and we'd land into trouble.

There could be nothing less than doubling the range, so what if we had a system where exactly 8 bits were written as 1 character? Then we would need some 246 (256-10 numerals) characters from somewhere to represent each value. We already have 26 characters in English, so reduce that 246 by another 26 and you're still short of 180 characters to fill the vaccum. What if we used alphabets like Excel Columns - AA, AB when exhausted? No, that wouldn't work either. So I thought, we would either:

(1) Need to borrow from some other language and cram them up like Morse code; or better yet

(2) Include symbols too (like comma, colon, semi-colon etc.)

And then I thought there was a catch 22 here. I was taking all the symbols in the world to represent some symbols which could easily be represented by a binary representation. After a few seconds I knocked myself on my head from my stupour. I was still alive, and kicking...:)


Moral of the story: I am Mista Non Sen

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, April 16, 2004

A guy at work once said to me "I can't count to ten in binary", I looked at him like he was an idiot, he was our previous tech support, knew stacks more about networks then me, but thought being able to count to ten in binary was an accomplishment.
I thought to say to him "I can count to any number in any base, just as long as you provide some symbols"

I don't think "Hex is to Binary" as "kilo is to 1000".
They are two completely different things.

Aussie Chick
Friday, April 16, 2004

Cassandra says:
I don't think "Hex is to Binary" as "kilo is to 1000".
They are two completely different things.


Sathyaish asks, "How?"

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, April 16, 2004

The topic of alternate number systems being used in everyday life was best explored, in my opinion, in the Schoolhouse Rock classic, "Little Twelvetoes", the lyrics of which are available here:

http://www.postdiluvian.org/~gilly/Schoolhouse_Rock/HTML/multiplication/twelve.html

I think that about sums it up.

Emperor Norton
Friday, April 16, 2004

You need to read a book on the history of mathematics/numbers. I have one on my shelf, but it is 02h52 in the morning, I am a bit drunk, and I can't be asked to look it up.

It is amazing how difficult it is for some of the things we now take for granted to be accepted into the mainstream.

The one example that comes to mind is the concept of zero as a number. Even the Romans in all their spleandour did not have zero as a number! They started counting at 1.

( That's why the real millenium celebration should have been at the beginning of 2001, but that is another story altogether)

Pi too, has an interesting history.

I work a lot with figures, and I get really excited by numbers. Had a spreadsheet the other day, linking to about 30 different cells, and the result was 987,654.32! Exciting stuff!

I guess I am just wierd, and I am rambling, so I will stop now.

Tapiwa
Friday, April 16, 2004

>Cassandra says:
>I don't think "Hex is to Binary" as "kilo is to 1000".
>They are two completely different things.
>
>Sathyaish says:
>"How"

How are they alike? The sole similarity you have issued is that "it is easier to say kilo then to say one thousand" and "it is easy to write in Hex then it is to write in Binary".

That is where the similarity ends.

Aussie Chick
Friday, April 16, 2004

Tapiwa dude is drunk and he writes:
>I work a lot with figures, and I get really excited by numbers. Had a spreadsheet the other day, linking to about 30 different cells, and the result was 987,654.32! Exciting stuff!

Tapiwa, you are drunk. It is amusing to picture you falling of from your chair, drunk, and hazily uttering gobbledeegook of that kind.

;)

But you see, I can always do better without even getting drunk.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Saturday, April 17, 2004

The easiest number system is that of the Irish. Consisting of only 4 terms.

One, Two, Three, another, another, another, another......

A Scot
Saturday, April 17, 2004

one tequila
two tequila
three tequila
floor!

Tapiwa
Saturday, April 17, 2004

This discussion reminds me of the (dunno fad maybe) a few years ago with base 3 computing. There were a large number of articles on /. about it. You can do the searching, I am feeling lazy on Sat AM.
The idea is instead of binary number you use +1, 0, and -1. There was a PhD paper about how base e (mathematical, irrational e= 2.1718) was the optimal base for computing.
The trinary logic was cool because the negative of a number is its inverse. Just change all the +1 to -1.

Doug Withau
Saturday, April 17, 2004

"the real millenium celebration should have been at the beginning of 2001"

Actually the best guess for the correct millenium date is around January 6, 1997.

"decimal"

Base-12, aka the old english system is far superior to the artifical and inconvenient base 10 system.

Scott
Saturday, April 17, 2004

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