September 8th, 2004


(no subject)

It's strange how many people seem completely oblivious to how things *they use* work.

There's a math channel I'm in. It's got a bot that calculates things, which is very convenient in case you don't want to open Windows Calculator. Someone came in asking how to convert to base 5 - apparently he needed to convert 1827 to base 5, we presume this is homework - and so someone typed ".base 1827 10 5" and the bot cheerfully converted it to 24302.

However, he couldn't explain where the bot had gotten that number.

It's worth pointing out that this is the bot's owner, and had actually done some programming work to get the mathbot functioning properly. And yet he doesn't know what base 5 means.

I've made it a point to get at least a vague understanding of how all the major things in my life work. I can tell you roughly how a car works, or how you'd build an LCD monitor, or why refrigerators make so much noise and generate so much heat. (Which seems a bit counterproductive, yes?) I was able to figure out where the pipe clog probably was in our apartment building, and when the garage door stopped latching I figured out why (and completely failed to fix it, but so it goes.) I can tell you what keeps an airplane up, and I can explain at least the basics of how city electrical systems are put together.

Am I really so unique?

Or is it actually common for the owner of a math channel, "skilled" at programming, to not understand number bases?
  • Current Mood
    confused confused