atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1001: It's nine in BCD!

And it's also the last time I can point to a post number and say it's actually a binary-coded decimal number.

Yeah, because 1010 isn't a decimal number. It's the equivalent of 10 in decimal numbers, or "A" in hex. BCD encodes a single digit in four bits, meaning that you essentially waste five states of the nibble (half byte) to encode the number. Still, BCD is handy, which is why it persists, and memory is cheap nowadays anyway.

Well, it's like they say: there are 10 types of people when it comes to binary numbers. Those who understand 'em, and those who don't.

(Another geek joke which I won't elaborate on now: "The top 12 list of why I like octal.") (12 in octal, for my non-technical readers, is 10 in decimal.)

Interesting point I just thought of: in Richard Feynman's autobiography Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, he mentions getting angry at a mathematics textbook which has a unit on number systems, because "no one needs to convert from one numeric base to another!" As it turns out, though, when I learned the concept of numeric bases in junior high, it set me up to understand binary, hexadecimal, and octal, and how they relate to decimal; so maybe this is one case where "new math" actually worked out...though I'm positive it was entirely by accident.

* * *

Hal Clement, Needle, 1950.

The idea is nothing new. I doubt it's quite as easy as the guy lets on, though; you're not going to add a cupful of bacteria to a haystack, ferment for a week, and dump the resulting liquid into your car's fuel tank. Certainly it is not going to be as cheap to make as crude oil is to pump from the ground (@ ca $15 per barrel).

Boortz today comments on the unintended consequence of burning food. At least this guy's plan uses "biomass" rather than food--scrapwood, grass clippings, whatever. (BTW Boortz is worth reading today in its entirety.)

I have my doubts, though, about this guy's process making much of a dent in our demand for oil. We'll see, I guess.

Reportedly, Condi wants to be veep. And I think John McCain ought to grab that idea and run with it, because it would be six kinds of awesome to hear what the Democrats would say about a black woman running for VP as a Republican. You think the nastiness they've already spouted would be bad? Just wait!

I mean, Clarence Thomas is an "Uncle Tom" because he's a conservative. I have, somewhere, a picture from some leftist protest which compares Colin Powell to an ape. A lot of bad things have been said about Condi...and all these things come from the soi disant "tolerant" Left.

It would be a very nice countermove by the GOP, too.

* * *

I found my copy of Clancy's Red Storm Rising this morning. It was in the third box of books I took from the garage. I've been wanting to re-read it for a while now. Hoody hoo etc.

* * *

Welp, I finally have the last two eps of Bamboo Blade, and work tonight, so I'm going to sign off, watch some anime, and hit the hay. See ya!

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