Author Topic: Simon blogs  (Read 17657 times)

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Offline Simon

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Re: Simon blogs
« Reply #150 on: August 10, 2018, 12:32:20 pm »
The weather has become cooler again, that is very nice. It's still deep in the shorts-and-T-shirt weather. I wear sandals whenever possible, that's good for the environment because I don't have to launder any socks.

There will be a Family Feud round (forum game) by Forestidia and me, we'll think of the questions within a week.



Comma, more base-16

Germans use decimal commas and thousands-separating points: 1.234,5. That is weird and should be abolished in favor of the decimal point, 1,234.5, which seems to be more common around the world than any other separator. It's extremely confusing to read any kind of number in German when you're exposed to the decimal comma 80 % of the time.

Decimal is bad anyway and should be swapped for hexadecimal (not for base-12 even though many anti-decimal people want base-12). Powers of 2 are so useful that any other prime merely bloats the base, and 16 has an integer root (4) to generate patterns in the base-16 multiplication table that help memorizing the table.

■ ■ ■ ■
■ ■ ■ ■
■ ■ ■ ■
■ ■ ■ ■

The human brain is good at pattern recognition. It's also excellent at halving a visually presented quantity. Base-16 exploits that. A square tiled into 4x4 small squares is easier to grasp than a rectangle tiled 5x2 because of the 4x4's regularity and smaller max side length. Thus, let's design our numbers for humans, not for traditionalists.

Base-16 coins should be square (maybe some should be triangular?). They won't roll under the sofa, and they should get little tongues and grooves along their sides, then you can stick together 4 one-euro pieces to from a single 4-euro piece. The smallest coin available should be a 16th of a euro, anything smaller is unnecessary. In 30 years, even the 1/16-euro coin will be phased out, and the 1/4-euro will be the smallest.

No coin should be twice the value of another; coins should be a factor of 4 apart (maybe even 16 if coins can form a 4-times-larger coin by sticking them together). There should be as few different coins as possible and they should be easy to tell apart both by feeling and by looking.

There is no compelling reason to use base-10 other than tradition. The 10 fingers on our two hands seem like an after-the-fact rationalization of the bad choice that is base-10. Really, we don't have 5 similarly-shaped fingers on a hand; rather, we have 4 fingers and an opposing thumb. With 4 = 2^2 fingers and 1 = 2^0 thumb, we have 2 = 2^1 kinds of different stuff on each of our 2 = 2^1 hands. See, even nature ditches anything but powers of 2!

-- Simon
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 06:40:34 pm by Simon »