Systems of Numeration

The number names in my language follow no particular system of organization, like this:

So, for example, Night Blindness plus The Truth is Oyster Stew.

  1. This is much better than conventional systems because it demonstrates to all that, in mathematics, there is Truth, but not Beauty. [Jeff Hutchinson]

  2. This is much better than conventional systems because it demonstrates that there are a countably infinite number of unique names for things. Thus, if the universe contains a countably infinite number of things, this numeration method provides an easy way to enumerate everything in the universe. [Jed Hartman]

  3. This is much better than conventional systems because it eliminates the bias inherent in conventional systems of numeration toward the elite few who find it natural to think in terms of constructing new numbers by combining already known numbers. It therefore empowers the majority who find numbers mysterious and who have difficulty with so-called "standard" numerical rules, thereby levelling the playing field and making it possible for traditionally marginalized individuals to compete for jobs in the field of mathematics. [Jed Hartman]

  4. This is much better than conventional systems because in English, certain numbers are already referred to by names which have no correlation with each other -- the first 13 non-negative integers, pi, e, Planck's Constant, and so on -- so this system merely takes that lack of correlation to its logical conclusion, making the system of numeration consistently non-correlative. (Having some parts of a system organized and some parts unorganized inevitably leads to confusion.) [Jed Hartman]

  5. This is much better tha conventional systems, because it ensures an infinite vocabulary, leading to heights of expressiveness and creativity of which we can only dream. [Nova Myhill and/or James Kushner]

  6. This is much better than conventional systems because it makes it harder for hostile aliens to figure out our language using the supposedly "universal" language of mathematics. [Jed Hartman]

  7. This is much better than conventional systems because in a non-compositional number system like mine, error sources such as arithmetic overflow and transmission noise yield output that could not possibly be mistaken for correct. [Jason Eisner]

  8. This is much better than conventional systems because the numbers sound different enough for speech recognition systems to easily get the number right. [Pat Gunn]

  9. This is much better than conventional systems because it offers backward-compatibility with systems using Alpha-Bravo code. [Debbie Steinig]

  10. This is much better than conventional systems because it promotes synesthesia in children. Children for whom a given integer evokes, say, the twist, the creak, the burning-wire smell, the raw fear of exposed Elevator Cables tend to have a much easier time visualizing their plus and times tables, and often mature into mnemonists with total recall for the most trivial events, preventing the dangerous shortage of sports commentators observed in communities with old-fashioned number systems. [Jason Eisner]

  11. This is much better than conventional systems because it reveals the philosophical truths behind all mathematics (such as the fact that Coal Black (the 57,398th positive integer) plus Highly Reflective Off-White (the 97th negative integer) is equal to A Certain Shade of Grey (the 57,391st positive integer), as well as more subtle and less obvious facts like Night Blindness plus The Truth equalling Oyster Stew, which is pretty profound when you think about it). [Jed Hartman]

  12. This is much better than conventional systems because it trains people to have good memories. [Jed Hartman]

  13. This is much better than conventional systems because it makes the process of figuring out our language more entertaining to friendly but easily bored aliens who might otherwise give up too soon. [Jed Hartman]

  14. This is much better than conventional systems because social science has proven over and again that words are easier to remember than numbers. In a study by Bay Area Rapid Transit, something like 30 percent of commuters could correctly differentiate between the 580 and 680 interstates, while around 90 percent could identify at least 75 percent of a list of area street names.

    Further, psychologists assure us that arbitrary and rigid numbering systems do little to guide young people in their quest for self-worth and independence, and impede the evolution of the creative self.

    Even more striking is the trend we see that those children with stronger creative sides, whom have trouble getting past the rigidity of our current numbering system, are often left behind in the technological pushes of our information age. These children are left to find different ways of keeping up, and often turn to drugs, alcohol, and television. Their resumes are woefully inadequate and they have hard times finding jobs; the only other solution left to them is affirmative action. With my numbering system, these children have been shown to excel in all categories of science and mathematics.

    But the greatest thing about this system has to be the personal accomplishment of finding a number that has not yet been named and giving it a name yourself. Twice a year we have number drives to find unnamed numbers and we take the numbers to homes for elderly, infirm, and mentally challenged children and let them name the numbers. There are few feelings greater in life than bringing joy to others. [Chris Nandor]

  15. This is much better than conventional systems because. . . Well, isn't it obvious? A superior system of enumeration should not be susceptible to aural confusion. The reuse of a small number of sounds, distinguished only by the gaps between them, makes for a very sloppy language indeed. It becomes very easy for a slight difficulty in hearing what numbers someone is saying (say, "Two hundred, Thirty-four hundred") to cause a 'mutation' into a completely incorrect result ("Two hundred thirty, Four hundred"). There's a reason why nobody uses morse code anymore (as of 1996, even ham radio operators no longer need to learn it to get a license), and it's because when you only have three symbols (dot, dash, and pause) to use to code a message, you're asking for trouble.

    Also, I'd much rather hear a quarterback yell, "Pencil Sharpener! Alabaster! The Truth! Hut!" than "Twenty! Nine! Four! Hut!" (or is that, "Twenty-nine! Four! Hut!" ?) [Jim Moskowitz]

  16. This is much better than conventional systems because engineers have long suffered from metaphor-envy. Writers in the humanities disguise vagueness, imprecise reasoning, and scant evidence by drawing on the connotations surrounding words; readers of the humanities similarly justify wanton misinterpretations of a text. Now engineers, too, can enjoy word association games. We have had some complaints that numerical self-expression is limited when all the number names connote ten-year-old boys: "bleem," "wormfood," "oyster stew." To make math more accessible to girls and women, we are extending the language to include "vagina," "cooperation," and "empowerment." [Debbie Steinig]

Round 1 Main Page.

Notes from this round.

Results of this round.


Wondering what this is about? See Advocacy Manifesto.