Off the Wire

Shocking! Proposed Changes in How We Count

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

Such a simple question, but not to two intrepid scientists on the cutting edge of numbers and how we count. Each has their own ideas about what the answer should be even as they both suggest we move away from our base-10 numbering system.

Scientist Max Freelander suggests moving to a base-12 counting system because it’s “just so much more efficient. With base-12, you can divide by 2, 3, 4 and 6. With base-10, you only have 2 and 5. That’s twice as many. Plus grocers have always sold eggs by the dozen and eggs are good for you.” Freelander continues with some frightening revelations. “Our numbering system was based on 10 because we had ten fingers, and it simply made things easier to count. It’s too bad we didn’t have a couple of extra.” Freelander states that making such a move would benefit the economy. “It would be a real boon for math textbook sales.”

This proposed conversion is not without controversy. It’s a family affair. Freelander’s twin brother, Paul, is pushing base-16 which he emphasizes is exceptionally friendly to our computer-influenced society. “Come on, it’s not inconceivable to change to hexadecimal. The Mayans used base-20. Personally, I would have preferred base-20, but I hate wearing sandals,” he said.

This is not the first time these two have clashed. In the past, each has taken different sides on topics such as immigration, legalization of marijuana, and Coke vs. Pepsi. Their mother, Freida, weighed in on the matter. “I keep telling them, we’re family. They should stop arguing over such silly things. but they’ve been that way their entire lives. Max was born first by ten minutes. Ever since then, Paul has been trying to catch up. But they’re both such good boys.”

As with many things dealing with counting, the dark underworld of crime wants a piece of the action. Jimmy “One Pinkie” Tuttorro has stepped forward and is making a case for base-9. “It’s easier for me, and what’s easier for me is what counts, if you know what I mean.”

Time will tell if we all learn what this really means.

Until next time – Don’t Look Down
by William Darrah Whitaker

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