blue-author:

nentuaby:

blue-author:

afloweroutofstone:

Do you ever think about how different your view of everything would be if you thought in a numerical system that wasn’t base 10

“Wow, 823543. What a nice, round number!”

This is an interesting knob to twist in speculative fiction, because like, we think it’s perfectly obvious that “10 digits (fingers) = 10 digits (numerals)” but that doesn’t need to be true. Like it could be as trivial as if we had just picked up the habit of counting a finger by touching it to our thumb instead of sticking it out. That’d mean we’d work in base 8. (Which would have been an unexpected blessing when we invented computers.) Or if we came up with the notion of place values *and then assigned them to our fingers* we’d be counting to 255 on our hands, in base 2. (This is a neat trick to learn, by the way.)

Plus there are actual historical peoples who count in bases that have nothing to do with their total inventory of fingers, like the Mayan (5)20 system. (Their system is based on grouping things into fives, and it transitions from counting into multiplication at 20.) Or 60, which the Babylonians used because it has lots of whole divisors, and they hadn’t really worked out fractions very nicely. (This survives as our weird base 60 time system, which is BTW another thing specficcers often forget civilizations do: Inconsistency and legacy systems!)

Yes, yes, yes to all of this, but especially inconsistency and legacy systems. Give me more worlds that make as little sense when viewed in snapshot as ours does.