## 200: Numbers!

Hooray! 200! Something to celebrate with cake!

Though this comic raises an interesting question in our big its, base ten focused world. If the Things came up with their own number system, without human influence, what base would they use and why?

Curious minds want to know, do you have a theory?

… While you answer that question I shall make the things some 200th comic cake.

“That is not dead which can eternal lie

And with strange aeons even death may die”

Hmmmmmm

Now I’m trying to wrap my brain around Non-Euclidean geometry! Oh my ears and whiskers it’s like reading a foreign language. I get the sense from this that Non-Euclidean geometry could be performed in any base. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Euclidean_geometry

Binary, Each digit is on/off (or exists/does not exist, there/not there, etc) which is a concept any intelligent species can wrap their minds around.

They is or they isn’t sounds very Things.

I agree, base 2. If the creatures have no physical predilection towards one number system or another, it’s going to be base 2.

Non-Euclidean Geo is any Geometry that uses other postulates than Euclid’s. The one that usually goes is the parallel lines one. I don’t see why any geometry can’t be notated in any base.

Which means we still don’t know what base the Things would develop for the mathematics if there wasn’t human interference.

Well, we use a digital number system. It’s possible that a non-human would use an analog system, for example, a squiggly line one unit long for one, two units long for two, twenty units long for twenty, one and a quarter units long for one and a quarter, etc.

This does make it hard to write very large numbers, but they could have the equivalent of a decimal place or an exponent.

If you’re sticking with digital representations, I like balanced ternary, which is a system that is logical, but humans just don’t use. Balanced ternary uses just three digits, zero, one, and negative one.

Fascinating. I shall have to find out more about balanced ternary… this looks good. http://www.mortati.com/glusker/fowler/ternary.htm

Now I shall have to sit with it for a while as my brain slithers all over it!