My 50s in Hex Equals My Dad’s 80s

19 June 2010

Truman is my dad. My birthday is at the end of May and Truman’s birthday is near the end of June. I turned 50 during May of 2007 and Truman turned 80 during June of 2007.

Now for number system tidbit… 50 in base-16 (hexadecimal, or hex) is 80 in base-10 (decimal) because five units of 16 plus zero ones equals eight units of 10 plus zero ones. In many programming languages, numbers prefixed with 0x (or 0X) are numbers being represented in hex. For example, 0x50 is 80, 0x51 is 81, 0x52 is 82, 0x53 is 83, …, 0x59 is 89.

Now to the point of this posting…During my 6th and Truman’s 9th decades of life, for 11 of every 12 months, my age in hex equals Truman’s decimal age. When Truman and I turn 90 and 60, respectively, my hex age will no longer equals Truman’s age (i.e. 0x60 is 96, not 90).

Note: This posting was published when I was 53 and Truman was 82 (i.e. my age in hex was one more than Truman’s age in decimal).


Pi Day 2010 Video Clips

21 March 2010

The video clips embedded in this posting were made on Pi Day 2010 (i.e. 3/14). I spent Pi Day 2010 playing in the Colorado desert of southwest California.

This first video clip was made in Rice, California (pop. 0). I bought a piece of pie (pecan) at the Crossroads Cafe in Parker, Arizona, and ate it in Rice.

This second video clip was shot at the RR trestle located along CA Hwy-62 between Vidal Jct. and Rice. This stretch of CA Hwy-62 is lined with rock banners and I made a rock banner Pi symbol.

This last video clip was shot at a cement slab that is located about a half mile south of where the Tamarisk Shoe Tree use to live. I made a Pi symbol using shoes that are stashed at the cement slab.

Spring semesters start with a holiday

11 January 2010

Arizona’s Maricopa County Community Colleges begin every spring semester on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

During a semester, I start each week with a QOTW (Quote Of The Week) and I start spring semesters with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. The following MLK quote was going to be the first QOTW for 2010 spring semester.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

But… I help others learn about computing and math; therefore, I switched the first QOTW for the spring 2010 semester to the following MLK quote.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

The MLK quote is used to mathematically define the terms finite and infinite and this semester the first QOTW will include a second quote… my original choice for the first QOTW — the MLK quote that ends with… Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

The MLK quote about thinking will be used to mathematically define the term nothing and doing arithmetic with zero.


A bit about zero

20 December 2009

I got up this morning with the intention of writing a bit about zero, but first I checked Twitter and came across the following tweet.

@RepublicOfMath I thought I had 3 apples, but I counted them; 0,1,2 and only had 2. RT @toddlee @t_uda retweet if we think 0 is a natural number?

I do something similar during class, but I use my fingers instead of apples.

I woke up this morning and decided to make sure I had all my fingers… 0, 1, 2, 3, 4… Doh! I’m missing a finger!

I (@MathBabbler) replied to the @RepublicOfMath tweet with the following tweet.

In the computing world, 0 is a natural number. It’s been the cause of many off-by-one errors.

Now… back to the bit I wanted to write about zero.

Add 0 to a quantity and the quantity remains unchanged; subtract 0 from a quantity and the quantity remains unchanged. But, multiply a quantity by zero and it becomes zero. Divide a quantity by zero and run the risk of crashing a computer. It’s okay to take nothing and divide-by something, but don’t even think about dividing something by nothing.

This almost as destructive as multiplying by zero: Raise a non-zero quantity to the power of zero and get one.

Zero factorial (written 0!) is one. What a great power of zero example: Take nothing (i.e. zero) and turn it into something (i.e. one). I wish I could factorialize all the zero pennies I have.

Zero is cool because it’s both a digit and a number. Plus, it is a digit in every number system from base-2 (binary) on up.

Zero is neither positive nor negative, yet +0 typically implies you have a positive quantity that is so small that it might was well be zero and -0 implies you have a negative quantity that is so close to zero that for all practical purposes its zero.

Is zero even or odd? Many consider it even, yet it’s odd to do arithmetic with it.


Snoop Dogg, Aristotle, Donald Knuth

21 November 2009

On back-to-back days I mined quotes by Calvin Broadus (Snoop Dogg)
and Aristotle. Dogg’s quote was about math and Aristotle’s quote was about teaching. The combination of math and teaching caused me to recall a quote by Donald Knuth about the importance of computing.

If you stop at general math, you’re only going to make general math money. — Snoop Dogg

I’m curious as to how Dogg defines “general math money.” Minimum wage? Less than six-figure salaries? Less than $1 million per year? I suspect Dogg makes abstract algebra money.

Teaching is the highest form of understanding. — Aristotle

The quotes by Dogg and Aristotle reminded me of the following quote by Donald Knuth.

It has often been said that a person does not really understand something until he teaches it to someone else. Actually a person does not really understand something until he can teach it to a computer, i. e., express it as an algorithm. The attempt to formalize things as algorithms leads to a much deeper understanding than if we simply try to comprehend things in the traditional way. — Donald Knuth [1]

Programming is how a person “teaches” a computer, yet students don’t have to learn about programming in K-12. And, many (majority of?) students get college degrees without ever learning a programming language. We are living in the CSTEM era and 21st century STEM depends on Computing, yet our educational systems seem to ignore this reality.

Aristotle might have been a dude in his day, but he didn’t have supercomputers at his finger tips. Knuth is a grossly unknown modern day polymath who would be quickly whatevered by most young people. But what about Snoop?

Snoop Dogg tells his fans to learn beyond general math. Kudos to Dogg. It would be nice if Mr. Dogg would rap about the importance of learning about the base-2 number system (i.e. the code).

[1] Donald Knuth is a “computer scientist and Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University.” [Wikipedia]