Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Number is one of those interesting words with more than one meaning. Usually it's numeric, but it can mean more nearly numb. (Or is that like "perfect,"  incapable of comparison, i.e you are either numb or not numb without gradations of numbness).

No matter. I've spent a working lifetime using numbers - the numeric kind. The computers and memory dumps, that I'd have to examine to determine what caused software glitches, used binary numbers. The binary numbers were always bunched up and printed as octal numbers (base 8) at first, but later in my working life they were further bunched into hexadecimal numbers (base 16). The 16 cardinal hex numbers are written 0,1,...9,a,b,c,d,e,f. where f is 15. I used to be able to convert them to decimal in my head, but since I retired five years ago I only deal with decimal numbers.  I think if humans were born with twelve fingers rather than ten, we'd be dealing with a base 12 number system, whatever that would be called, and it would be easy.

I like numbers, maybe almost as much as Santini does - although I think she's more familiar with the decimal variety. My favorite number is four. I've sought it out as the number on my back when I have played on organized softball and soccer teams. Since I now mainly play tennis, I usually don't wear a number on my back.  I'm not quite as reticent to use the number 13 as some, but I consider it unlucky and casually avoid it when possible.  I'm not sure where it got such a bad reputation, but there is a name for the phobia it engenders - triskaidekaphobia.  I think the subject has appeared in one of Mr Moohoo's blogs lately.

I like number jokes. I blogged one a while back. (There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary numbers and those who don't.)  The commenters added a few others in a similar vein.

Another in the intermittent series of benches encountered wherever I happen to encounter them. This one sat and sits on the shore of Swan Lake somewhere north of Floodwood.  Near Pengilly.   It has just the right amount of wildness and neglect to make it attractive to my lens.

These photos have little to do with the theme, but I took them lately and it is after all my blog. This is a close view of a female duck at Richfield Nature Center yesterday.


Gino said...

North of Floodwood heading towards Pengilly? Highway 73.

I know that.

What I don't know is how to get onto the D926 at Duclair.

Retired Professor said...

Nicely done, numbers guy. And you're correct about my familiarity with the decimal system-- preferably with a dollar sign, though I took enough programming classes to be able to understand most other numbering systems. And I've even read hex dumps to debug programs that I wrote in basic assembler language. A skill I no longer possess.

Nice photos, too.

BDE said...

Well, I never thought of number as meaning more numb, but according to the Free Dictionary online:

"numb (nm)
adj. numb·er, numb·est"

Of course, since it is free, what is this info worth?

Retired Professor said...

I'm with BDE on this one, and in my extensive experience, there are ranges of numbness. (Don't ask.) So number works for me.