humans and logic

Rainy sill at
Wed Jun 13 23:31:39 CEST 2001

On Wed, 13 Jun 2001 10:53:00 +0200 (MET DST), Eugene Leitl <Eugene.Leitl at> wrote:
> On Tue, 12 Jun 2001, Rainy wrote:
>> >> Try writing 1,388,034,093 in binary on a piece of paper
>> > 101,0010,1011,1011,1011,1000,0010,1101-ly y'rs -- Jan
>> That's much more unweildy, isn't it?
> It's not the representation, it's the operation. Try adding these things
> manually, or, worse, multiplying, or dividing them. Lots of little bitsys
> to keep track of.

Is that because we aren't accustomed to binary or something inherently
wrong with it?

> If you want it compact, or succinct, that's what octal or hex is for.
> Decimal needs not apply, because you can't just take three or four groups
> of bits, and convert them back and forth via lookups.

How's decimal less compact or succinct than octal? I can see why hex would
be, but 32-mal is more so. And you have to append 0x to unambiguate hex.
I imagine how teaching math in 1st grade would be, kids, 0x1 + 0x1 = 0x2 :-)

> And of course the question is not for people using the numbers daily
> (though binary should be the first number system taught in school), but
> for digital hardware (hint: it's called digital for a reason. No, it
> hasn't got fingers, guess again).

The original poster seemed to imply he wants everybody using it for
all purposes.

If it's not for daily use why teach it in schools? Even people who
are actively employed in programming rarely if ever need binary or
hex representations (excluding drivers and OS programmers, of course).

Isn't that why we have compilers, they go and
translate something that almost looks like normal human language into
gory machine details? ;-)

> -- Eugen* Leitl
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        - Syd

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