Mayans did use base 20 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal#History_of_positional_decimal_system_in_China). I wonder whether shoes vs. sandals had an influence? Frankly, no one knows the why and can only guess based on how numbers were used. John
Hex would be ok to use if we were taught it early. It would become natural. Binary would be a pain - imagine asking for 1100 eggs.
British currency used to be base 12 if I'm not mistaken. 10 could be divided 5 different ways evenly.
Remember, the "zero" wasn't invented until relatively late in human history. Romans didn't have it, for example. John
Bit before my time but it was a crazy system. 12 pence to the shilling 20 shillings to the pound A crown was 5 shillings and a half crown was 2 1/2 shillings (or 30 pence) There were also Florins, 3 and 6 pence coins, 1/4 and 1/2 pence coins, in fact the number of coins was ridiculous.
And American was both base 8 and 10. Remember the bit? I do; although, it had lost considerable popularity when I was growing up and was no longer available as a coin. There was still the saying, "shave and a haircut, 6 bits." John
I think the bit has been gone for a while now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_bits You've got a coin that is 1/4 of a dollar which is fairly unusual. (Most countries have 1,2,5,10,20, 50 denominations. In the UK the 20 is fairly recent.) Even more unusual is that you call it a quarter, when usually 1/4 is a fourth in America....
Actually zero as a placeholder has been around for a while longer than zero as a number. Read a good book on it once, it's amazing how such a 'simple' concept as a zero value being a relativly new concept. As far as based 12 goes there are still duodecimal nuts out there that swear we should all convert. http://www.dozenal.org There are some common mathmatical problems that work out really well in a base 12 system. I have a better idea though, no one system is perfect for every use, so they should ALL be taught in school right alongside regular math, the comparison would actually help the mind learn it, if you can intuitively deal with base 10 numbers and you're asked to rework the base problem in a different notation you're more likely to spot mistakes. Obviously you can't teach all notations because there are an unlimited number of them. But I'd say 2,4,8,10,12 would be good, bits, nibbles, and bytes (all taught as binary) 10 taught as the obvious decimal, and 12 taught as hexidecimal, the introduction of the extra symbol set will help decouple mathematics from straight 0-9 symbols. Many people have a horror of numbers as relating to math, the introduction of letters can mentally help, especially if common sense understanding of mathmatic is introduced at the same time, such as logs and what not. I remember seeing an episode of Star Trek where an 8 year old kid was mentioning he has to go to his calculus class, and mind you at that age if things are taught properly they're easily learned, it'd be nice to see us actually develop our education curriculum not just home kids when their parents are working.
Yep, I'll be dead before I stop using the foot and yard. I'd be happy if American students would learn to make simple change without using a calculator. Say, you have something that costs $0.78. You have a dollar, and the clerk enters that in the register to find out your change. You, in the meantime, find a nickle or three cents in your pocket and give it to the cashier. The astounded look is worth the effort. I have seen them cancel the sale and re-ring the $1.05 or whatever. Surprise! "Oh, you wanted a quarter back?" I always leave the pennies. John
Do they really do that often in the U.S.? Boy, everytime I want to give Americans a second chance and try to give them some credit, they keep letting me down...
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Along a similar line: 60 seconds in a minute 60 minutes in a degree 60 * 6 degrees in a circle Even though there isn't an individual symbol for each of the 60, it still works like a base_60 system. 45 + 45 = 30, carry the 1 I have a calculator that works in this base, and calls it "sexi-decimal" or something similar.
It is not a coincidence Latitude is measure the same as time. Time's main purpose in the early days of sailing was navigation.
I could be wrong, but I think the Babylonians used base 60, from which we get 60 seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour.
I'll bet many so-called prodigals, were actually just kids who were taught at a faster pace when they were really young and their minds were more absorbent to knowledge.