How we See and View Numbers vs How a Computer Stores Numbers: Decimal vs Binary

The Imperial System

When prehistoric man began to first "measure" he used the instruments he had available to hand, which were literally his hands and his feet. These were the origins of Imperial Units.

Imperial Units had the following:

  • inch – thickness of a thumb
  • hand – thickness of a hand
  • foot – length of a foot
  • yard – length from the nose to an outstretched thumb
  • step – the length of a step
  • pace – the length of a double step
  • mile – 1000 paces

In the early days everything was built custom by hand and there was no concept of money. As society advanced, there was a call for standardisation. In order for standardisation to occur there had to be a standard. The standard would be the most important person of the day otherwise known as the King or "ruler". A carpenter would have sized up the "ruler" and carved up a piece of wood with markings. This wooden device was called the ruler and the carpenter (within some margin of error) would be able to make a duplicate so multiple people would be able to measure the same thing. In time some of the units would be adjusted so that their scaling was simplified.

10 or 12


The Decimal System

In the Decimal System we use ten characters to distinguish numbers. These are:

  • 0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

All other numbers are made e.g. ten 10, by combining these ten characters. The origin behind having 10 different characters come from the fact that humans have 10 fingers.




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