Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I just had the epiphany that normal finger-counting is in unary. It's like binary, but lower! For some reason, even though "binary" indicates "2" I never realized there could be a counting system below that. It's not complicated though. Unary is just what you use when you count with tally marks ( or ).
So I realized instead you can use binary! Cause your fingers can represent 0 or 1, right? And that should totally let you higher than 10. Who hasn't run out of fingers sometimes? And then I tried to figure out how high that lets you count. Since you have 10 fingers and each is a binary digit you can go to 210-1, which equals... 1,023. Whoa.
Then I tried it out to make sure and see how easy it is to do. It gets a little weird. Here's an idea:
So there you go! Perhaps with some practice counting this way will be natural enough to be actually useful!
And in the interests of internet ethics, I will credit my source for this idea. A really esoteric source: this comment on a Boing Boing post where a guy mentioned, in passing, counting on his fingers in unary vs. binary.
(For further reading, I'll let you know there's (of course) a Wikipedia article.)
Posted at 1:42 PM