I've always used "Zero; One; Zero One; One Zero; One One; One Zero Zero" and so forth.

Right, and (for example) "eleven" wouldn't be 11 but 1011 when translated to binary.

Right. It's always seemed extra labor for me to translate the binary into a number name and then force someone to do the reverse translation. That's something you do *after* you have done your manipulations and need to know the result. Otherwise, why use binary notation at all?

Arguing over binary

LAL

Everyone wrote:Arguing over binary

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If you think about it, every base is base 10.

You beat me to it

If you think about it, every base is base 10.

Kind of but not really?

Maybe it’s more that we convert them to base 10 in our minds because that’s the easiest way to understand them. But to a machine, binary is binary because we built them to function that way.

? I’m not confident about that. ??

That’s the reason I asked if there were different words for binary numbers. A different bass set seems analogous to a different language? Once again I’m not confident about that. But that led me to wonder if numbers in more common non-bass-10 modes had unique names.

Yes. I said bass. Fight me!!

But to a machine, binary is binary because we built them to function that way.

Computers using binary (more or less) comes down to how electrical signals are passed through the components. It's easiest to build systems around detecting whether a current is present or not present, on or off, 1 or 0, than variable levels of current to represent different values between those ends.

If you think about it, every base is base 10.

Our words for numbers are, by and large, base ten. But that doesn’t mean number are necessarily grouped into 10’s, just that it how we are use to them.

There have been several languages/cultures in the world that haven’t used 10 as their base. To those raised in those, all number are intuitively based on a number other than 10.

Rawk & Mantid, you're both taking me to have meant "every base is the base *we call* base 10".

What I meant was: "every base, considered on its own terms, is base 10".

E.g. if you met an English-speaking alien with eight fingers who thinks in (what we call) base 8, and you asked that alien what base they use, they'd answer base 10. (Of course if they speak English they'd verbalize that as "base eight", but only because that's how they pronounce the number 10.)

Hence: every base is base 10.

But to a machine, binary is binary because we built them to function that way.

Basically yes. But remember that binary is just an arbitrary choice of representation. We happen to know how to build CPUs that can do math very quickly on binary representations of numbers, so for that reason computer programs almost always represent numbers that way. But it's not strictly necessary - one can write programs that do math on numbers stored some other way and still get the right answers, it's just slower and more tedious.

By the way, this reminds me of the world's funniest programmer joke:

Q:Why did the programmer confuse Halloween and Christmas?

A:BecauseSpoiler:

`oct 31 == dec 25`

Rawk & Mantid, you're both taking me to have meant "every base is the base

we callbase 10".

What I meant was: "every base, considered on its own terms, is base 10".E.g. if you met an English-speaking alien with eight fingers who thinks in (what we call) base 8, and you asked that alien what base they use, they'd answer base 10. (Of course if they speak English they'd verbalize that as "base eight", but only because that's how they pronounce the number 10.)

Hence: every base is base 10.

To pedantic slightly more (fenomas, I loved this ):

For any numbering system that we represent with Arabic numerals in the standard columnar format, “10” is how you write “the first number after you need two columns”. Ergo binary is “0, 1, 10”, octal is “0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10”, hexadecimal is “0, 1, 2, ..., e, f, 10”, etc. By definition, every base is base 10.

What it comes down to is that Rawk just wants everything to be grey.

...And if your system does not use columns, or indeed numerals...?

For example, Chinese numerals...

(In other words, the base system applies only to positional number systems...)

Also, there is a real world difference between representation and quantity, so if you stiff yourself by believing that all "10"s are the same, it's your own damn fault.

To pedantic slightly more (fenomas, I loved this ):

For any numbering system that we represent with Arabic numerals in the standard columnar format, “10” is how you write “the first number after you need two columns”. Ergo binary is “0, 1, 10”, octal is “0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10”, hexadecimal is “0, 1, 2, ..., e, f, 10”, etc. By definition, every base is base 10.

That's what I was saying, yep. It's not original to me though - can't remember where I first ran across it, but it was definitely one of those ideas I had to take over by the fireplace and chew on for a few minutes.

...And if your system does not use columns, or indeed numerals...?

For example, Chinese numerals...

(In other words, the base system applies only to positional number systems...)

See! This is more like what I was getting at.

I'm starting to get the strong desire to dust off my abacus.

(In other words, the base system applies only to positional number systems...)

According to the page that image is linked from, those symbols come from a positional number system. (and a base 10 system at that!) Non-positional number characters are a different thing (一, 百, 万 etc).

Research shows that the human finger can detect surface imperfections down to thirteen nanometers. The analogy they gave was "if your finger were the size of the earth, you could detect the difference between houses and cars."

My question is: what use did Homo Erectus have for sensing nanoscale imperfections? Or any of our ancestors, really. What selection pressure brought about this seemingly useless ability?

What selection pressure brought about this seemingly useless ability?

The clitoris

My question is: what use did Homo Erectus have for sensing nanoscale imperfections? Or any of our ancestors, really. What selection pressure brought about this seemingly useless ability?

How slippery is the branch you're gripping while you hide from the sabertooth tiger on the forest floor? Will you fall to your death, or can you maintain your grip on it?

For a race that uses it hands for *everything*, having that hand be super-sensitive seems like a no-brainer.

Yeah, but a nano-scale pattern on a branch is not going to support your weight. It is way more sensitive than makes sense to me.

BadKen wrote:My question is: what use did Homo Erectus have for sensing nanoscale imperfections? Or any of our ancestors, really. What selection pressure brought about this seemingly useless ability?

How slippery is the branch you're gripping while you hide from the sabertooth tiger on the forest floor? Will you fall to your death, or can you maintain your grip on it?

Conversely, how slippery is the layer of flesh which lays between the clitoris and the finger.

Yeah, but a nano-scale pattern on a branch is not going to support your weight. It is way more sensitive than makes sense to me.

Grip and friction are nano-scale phenomena.

I wasn't talking about assessing how strong a branch is, I was talking about assessing how capable you're going to be of holding onto it.

And furthermore, I'm not even talking about conscious level assessments. More the autonomic control of grip - you unconsciously detect your grip starting to slip at a nano-scale, and automatically tighten your grip.

The lice and bugs that monkeys pick off of each other when cleaning have to be pretty small right? A quick googling suggests juvenile lice are 200 micrometers wide. Still not on the nano scale but a use for very sensitive fingers.

My question is: what use did Homo Erectus have for sensing nanoscale imperfections?

So the ladies could actually feel my erectus obviously.

Grip and friction are nano-scale phenomena.

Yeah that makes sense. Anything that helps creatures using trees to avoid predators stay in the trees is going to be a selective advantage.

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