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Reading binary code

30 September 2012 5 comments
Binary

Binary (Photo credit: noegranado)

Wait! Before you turn away thinking “uh, binary? No thanks this is NOT for me”, give me five minutes to explain just how easy it is to read.

After all, you never know, you may one day meet the man/woman of your dreams (albeit a very geeky one) at a party and want to impress him/her with your knowledge and intelligence…(admittedly very far fetched but just humour me here).

So here goes..let’s start.

The binary system is the number system recognised by computers. A computer understands only two values, 1 and 0 (they’re not particularly intelligent).

If computers could talk and you asked it ‘what are you thinking?’, it would probably say ‘Oh, nothing’ (because it deals with so many zeros..geddit?).

Computers read binary code to define system elements such as memory locations, monitor colours etc. Everything and anything.

  • The first thing to realise is that binary is solely made up of just ones and zeros.
  • The second is that you always read binary from right to left – not the standard left to right (much like Arabic..feeling cultured already eh?).

Calculate binary by using the below scale. For simplification, this table only has the first 8 numbers. You’ll notice that each value or position is double the preceding value (i.e. the value to the right).

Table of first 8 binary values

To formulate a decimal number you just add together all positions marked with a “1” and ignore the positions marked with a “0”.

For example, if you wanted to represent the decimal number 2 in binary, you would write the following:

10.

In this example, the “0” in the first binary position tells you to skip the first value (which represents the decimal number 1). You then move to the second value which represents the decimal number 2. The “1” says to count that number. Remember we’ve read the 10 from right to left.

“There are only 10 people in the world; those that understand binary and those that don’t”

So following the above, to represent the number 5 in binary, you would enter the following:

101.

In this example you count the 1st binary position (..decimal value 1), skip the 2nd (..2) and count the 3rd (..4). So 1 + 4 = 5. Easy right!?

The number 43 is represented by 101011. i.e. 1+2+8+32 = 43.

The decimal value 43 in binary

Taking a much bigger number – the binary representation of the decimal number 100,000 would be:

The decimal value 100,000 in binary

This takes a whopping 17 binary values to add together. 11000011010100000.

Check it yourself – add all the values represented by a 1, and you get 100,000.

And it really is that easy. All you need is the scale and a bit of time to plot out each ‘one’ and then add all the values together. In this way computers can deal with very big numbers easily and quickly (rather than having to count out 100,000 x 1’s for the value 100,000 for instance).

Next up is Hexadecimal code (which I’m just in the process of writing a post on), and how to convert between binary, hexadecimal and decimal systems (‘ooh, can’t wait’ I hear you say).

Big big BIG numbers: googols, centillions and googolplexes

1 July 2012 4 comments

Numbers numbers numbers...“I love you one hundred million times” – says my 3-year-old daughter to me.

“(lol) Well I love you 20 thousand trillion times more!” – Me back to daughter whilst thinking, ‘well what is after a trillion anyway? Hmm..’

I know the below stuff is on Wikipedia (which is where I got it all from) but I’m guessing not many people have actually thought to (or bothered to?) learn what comes after a million – billion – trillion – etc etc.

So in true QI fashion let us ponder this ‘quite interesting’ stuff and go through the names of some stupidly-massively-huge numbers. All in the name of learning something new that you may not have ever thought to before!

Names of large numbers

The first thing to realise is that the UK and the US have got a different naming system to continental Europe (not sure what places like Canada and Australia do – probably the same as the UK/US I’d imagine). So for example in Europe they call 1,000,000,000 a Milliard, whereas in the UK/US we call it a Billion. Their Billion which follows that is our Trillion, and so on).

  • I’ll just stick to the UK/US naming convention.
  • The Short Scale depicts how many 0’s there are after a 1, – so for example 1 Million is 1,000,000 (or 106).
  • In practice the below terms aren’t really used. Instead it is simply read out “ten to the forty-fifth” which is just as easy to say, easier to understand, and less ambiguous than “quattuordecillion” (which can also mean something different in the long scale and the short scale anyway!).
Name (UK/US naming) Short scale
Million 106
Billion 109
Trillion 1012
Quadrillion 1015
Quintillion 1018
Sextillion 1021
Septillion 1024
Octillion 1027
Nonillion 1030
Decillion 1033
Undecillion 1036
Duodecillion 1039
Tredecillion 1042
Quattuordecillion 1045
Quindecillion (Quinquadecillion) 1048
Sexdecillion (Sedecillion) 1051
Septendecillion 1054
Octodecillion 1057
Novemdecillion (Novendecillion) 1060
Vigintillion 1063
Centillion 10303

So you see it’s actually fairly simple and goes up Bi-, Tri-, Quad-, Quin-, etc etc. All latin-based words. On this University of North Carolina webpage they discuss another Greek-based naming system, though this is highly unlikely to ever be adopted!

So what of the bigger numbers?

  • A Googol is 10100 (which Google famously takes it’s name from via a misspelling).
  • A Googolplex is 10Googol (which a chap called Carl Sagan estimated that writing out in standard form (i.e., “10,000,000,000…”) would be physically impossible, since doing so would require more space than the known universe provides!).
  • Nothing however is as large as Infinty, which is a nice catch-all really for ‘one more than you’.

Further links

Enjoying the sights and sounds of Borough Market, London

1 May 2012 6 comments

Borough Market is one of the largest food markets in London and sells a large variety of foods from all over the world.

We spent a few enjoyable hours there in early Feb 2012, soaking in all the sights and sounds of this fantastic place (plus taking a few photos and tasting various delicious foods).

Delicious Mediterranean food such as Baclava - yum

Delicious Mediterranean food such as Baclava – yum

The covered market is situated in Southwark, just south of the river from London Bridge, and is renowned as a particularly fashionable place to go shopping for your food.

A mountain of chocolate Brownies - and yes, they tasted good..

A mountain of chocolate Brownies – and yes, they tasted good..

It’s easy to realise why it’s so popular once you’ve visited and seen the huge variety of amazing stalls, delicious food and heavenly smells. It really is a definite ‘must see’ place.

Everywhere you turn there are stalls providing fresh cooked food

Everywhere you turn there are stalls providing fresh cooked food

See the below website for information on opening times, exact location, types of market stalls, produce, events, and more.
 
This meal was £4ish and was chorizo and salsa on fresh bread - an amazing taste

This meal was £4ish and was chorizo and salsa on fresh bread – an amazing taste

A great review from www.yelp.co.uk/biz/borough-market-london-2:

Go hungry. You’ll want to eat your way through this market. There is food everywhere you turn. Pallea, fish and chips, cheese, baked goods, fruit and vegetables, sandwiches (ranging from beef to ostrich to lamb) and drinks (fruit shakes to Pimms and lemonade)….the list just goes on. Rain or shine, this market is packed. Bring cash, few vendors accept credit cards. Be prepare to rub elbows and eat standing, while being bumped.  Farmers and vendors providing some of the finest in London….you can’t get any better. Give yourself two hours, wear closed toe shoes, and bring your camera. MUST SEE!

Bringing a little bit of Paris to London

Bringing a little bit of Paris to London

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borough_Market has lots of background info on the market should you be interested.

You can be healthy..

You can be healthy..

..or try something more naughty

..or try something more naughty

Loads of the stalls let you sample the food too

Loads of the stalls let you sample the food too

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