bjtheone wrote: ↑Fri May 07, 2021 5:39 pm

Even as a child of imperial, and still not being able to visualize in dimensions in metric, I have to concede is a much much better system than imperial.

Why?

bjtheone wrote: ↑Fri May 07, 2021 5:39 pm

I am not sure how you can claim base 10 is bad, when the other choice is imperial with its brilliant unit steps (12, 16, 3, 5280, etc) and whomever the wanker was that decided US gallons should be different just because....

At first sight it might seem that choice of number base does not really matter much. Base 7 would work. So would base 39. Or whatever. What difference could it make? Let's just pick one and use that.

We are sold on the idea that base 10 is the sensible choice on the grounds that humans have 10 appendages on their hands. I don't really buy that reason. For example using my thumb as a "pointer" I can count to 12 on the bones in my fingers on one hand.

Consider this:

In the so called metric/base 10 world we now live in I can buy a box of 10 eggs. All that makes sense we are in a base 10 world right.

But if I don't need so many eggs, say I only need half as many, the next size down is 6.

WTF? Where did that come from? That is not half of 10. That is not any nice base 10 number. Why not 5 like it should be?

Well, of course it could not be 5. That does not pack nicely into a rectangular box. No body would do that.

If you ponder these things long enough you realise base 10 is very inconvenient for so many things. Base 12 would be better.

10 can only be nicely divided into piles of 2 or 5. Where as 12 can be nicely divided into piles of 2, 3, 4, 6. Notice how some of those piles will pack neatly into a rectangular box. All in all giving much more choice of easy ways to do things.

Why in this base 10 world, am I currently sucking on a one third litre can of beer? One third cannot even be completely specified in decimal notation. How crazy is that?

For an interesting look at why decimal is stupid and a base like 12 would be much more convenient do check out

Lindybeige's wonderful presentation on "Pounds, shillings, and pence: a history of English coinage" :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2paSGQRwvo
Apparently this really clicks with mathematicians when it is pointed out to them. They see the utility in it. Everyone else just blindly uses base 10 as best they can without thinking about it much.

Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .