# Fahrenheit Gang or Celsius Clan?

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3 hours ago, Gurgel said:

Simple: Too few people with 12 fingers. If we were dupes, we would be using base 8.

The counter argument is we have twelve knuckles on four fingers.  A base 12 system is actually far better for day to day life than base 10 because it's so much easier to divide.  Good luck trying to get people to change that, even with much stronger evidence of improvement than most of the metric vs imperial stuff.

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3 hours ago, KittenIsAGeek said:

And as long as I'm off topic.. has anyone else played around with base 12 number systems and noticed how incredibly easy most fractions become?  Why did we have to focus on the whole decimal system and turn fractions into sometimes infinite number strings?  =^.^=

This is exactly why decimal time, where we have 10 hour days, and 100 minute hours etc., never caught on.

Representing time with numbers that have numerous common factors makes it trivially easy to divide that time into useful and equal quantities.

Like take the 100 minute hour versus the 60 minute hour.

Divide it in 2:  50 and 30 minutes.

Divide it in 3: 33.3333 and 20 minutes.

Divide it in 4: 25 and 15 minutes

Divide it in 5: 20 and 12 minutes

Divide it in 6: 16.666 and 10 minutes

Divide it by 12: 8.333 and 5 minutes

Decimal time is great for computers that trivially handle repeating numbers. But it absolutely hates humans who prefer whole numbers.

Maybe our culture might have been better off with a different number base like 12 or 8. I don't know.

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32 minutes ago, speckle21 said:

Maybe our culture might have been better off with a different number base like 12 or 8. I don't know.

8 doesn't exactly work out very well because you lose too many factors.  Vigesimal (base 20) works out OK (think "Four score and seven years ago") and has the advantage of equaling the total number of fingers and toes for the average person... but for some reason we settled on 10 as our standard which just gets really annoying.  Oh well.  People are strange.

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3 hours ago, speckle21 said:

Decimal time is great for computers that trivially handle repeating numbers.

Actually in almost all programming environments it's terribly clumsy and repeating decimals get chopped off. Even non-repeating decimals are often inexact due to conversion to repeating binary-point numbers ... and get chopped off.

The repeating fractional part is usually an indication that a number is rational but the denominator has prime factors that the number base doesn't share. Very few environments have proper support for exactly representing such rational numbers.

2 hours ago, KittenIsAGeek said:

Vigesimal (base 20) works out OK

The Babylonians were fond of sexagesimal (base 60) for pretty much the exact reason @speckle21 gives: 60 = 22·3·5, so it divides evenly by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30. Even when it doesn't divide perfectly, you're a lot less likely to produce a repeating sexagesimal number by division because 2, 3 and 5 are represented in the base - division by 8, 9, 16, 18, 24, 25, 32, 36, 40, 45, 48, 50 will not repeat. Big enough to be clumsy for finger arithmetic, though.

Oh, and back on topic of units of measure: 14 pounds to the stone. First time I've seen a factor of 7 show up in one.

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2 minutes ago, Derringer said:

Actually in almost all programming environments it's terribly clumsy and repeating decimals get chopped off. Even non-repeating decimals are often inexact due to conversion to repeating binary-point numbers ... and get chopped off.

The repeating fractional part is usually an indication that a number is rational but the denominator has prime factors that the number base doesn't share. Very few environments have proper support for exactly representing such rational numbers.

I meant in the context that it's really easy for the computer to work with such numbers. It doesn't take much more work to handle 33.333 and assign actions based on them. "Trigger this event at 33.333"

But for a human. "Meet me in 33.333 minutes"..... WTF?

The terrible inconvenience of 33.333 makes humans pretty much reject using that number outright.

But that number doesn't bother a computer. It doesn't seize up or crash. Sure, it might be inexact and it will make very tiny errors due to rounding or truncation, but it can work with it. Whether it's exact or not isn't really the issue i'm focusing on.

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On 1/8/2020 at 1:13 AM, DarkMaster13 said:

The counter argument is we have twelve knuckles on four fingers.  A base 12 system is actually far better for day to day life than base 10 because it's so much easier to divide.  Good luck trying to get people to change that, even with much stronger evidence of improvement than most of the metric vs imperial stuff.

I take it you have never counted things using your fingers then? Or are you capable of bending said knuckles independently?

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This may be slightly off the original topic but..

..have they announced any plans to patch in the Rankine scale?

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Rankine? I want Réaumur! Or maybe °N?

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On 2020-01-08 at 4:50 PM, Gurgel said:

I take it you have never counted things using your fingers then? Or are you capable of bending said knuckles independently?

Stick all four fingers out and count by poking each knuckle with your opposite hand.

It's easier to lose count than with base 10, though, I'll give you that.

Also now I'm thinking of this song, so I'll just drop in some musical accompaniment:

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I can measure the F scale with a single finger, can you guess which one?

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9 hours ago, Craigjw said:

I can measure the F scale with a single finger, can you guess which one?

... Its your pinky, right?  Just dip it in and your brain instantly interprets the temperature, but only from your pinky?

(Yes, I'm intentionally being obtuse and a bit facetious.)

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Kelvin gang. Any other unit of temperature is for fake ONI gamers.

Spoiler

Yes, I'm intentionally jokingly gate keeping.