Don H

2008-04-18 19:16:10 UTC

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possible problem of coping with the number 10, its whys and wherefores.

What is the arithmetic "alphabet", ie. those basic concepts on which all

else is based?

Presumably, it is - 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 - assuming zero is a number. But

when we come to "10", it is a combination of existing numbers, and thus a

"word" or at least a "digraph", in an English language analogy.

But what if we had a special symbol for 10, eg. "Q", then what would a

number such as "3024" mean?

The zero in such number denotes an "empty" column in an abacus, or is a

place-holder without which the number would contract to 324, and be

incorrect.

Is such zero column really empty? Or is it a "complete" column for which

some more appropriate marker is needed.

Consider "3Q24" instead, and what is this but -

3QQQ + 2Q + 4, where 3QQQ = 3 x 10 x 10 x 10, and 2Q = 2 x 10.

After all, for the 3 in number 3024 to have reached its thousands status,

it must have accumulated those thousands, and a physical nothing on a

counting frame is not what exists in reality. Put three thousand people in

a stadium, and they all exist, no matter the notation.

Hence 3Q24 is the superimposition of 3QQQ, 2Q, and 4 - a form of

shorthand.