# From Base 10 To 12

Why we should switch.

Maybe space-based societies will switch over.

## 20 thoughts on “From Base 10 To 12”

1. Tom Bri says:

I like the dozenal system. Very convenient to use, and you can use your fingers as counters as in the decimal system. Each finger has three bones, times four fingers equals twelve. Our clocks are already dozenal, nobody seems to have problems figuring them out.

2. Al says:

The use of “E” for eleven would conflict with 1.45E12 notation. There are other issues with the other choices for symbols (rotated 2? Really?!?).

Additionally, I’d like the symbols for my digits to be incrementally “more dense”. Meaning any error in reading the digits is likely to be an “off-by-one” error, not confusing 1-with-7 or 4-with-9. The entire symbol-space of math is so overloaded andor tightly-overlapped with nearby symbols this would be quite an undertaking to do comprehensively.

It could be quite useful though: Looking at what the Greeks were working with symbology-wise it’s basically shocking they discovered anything in the entire field.

1. Ed Minchau says:

A rotated 2 would look exactly like a 2 on a seven segment display.

2. Rick C says:

Haven’t read the link yet but the idea of using anything but “A” and “B” for 10 and 11 is pretty silly, considering that’s already the standard for hexadecimal. Using anything else would create a nonuniversal numbering system.

For that matter, 12 base 10 should be “ten,” not 10 base 10, I think, if you were going to do switch. Similarly 120 base 10 (that is, 100 base 12) should be “one hundred.”

3. wodun says:

It would be worth it just to mess with all the people who keep pushing the decimal system. In fact, every time someone waxes poetic about the glory of any system that Americans don’t use, I will bring this up.

1. Al says:

Esperanto also works well to stymie such types.

4. Paul Milenkovic says:

Nah. I think decimal is best and that we should adopt the French Republican Calendar. OK, OK, 12 30-day monthis, with the 5 extra days to be year-end holidays named after women in the French fashion: Ann, Bernardine, Michelle, Valerie, and “Richard Windsor.”

Yessir, 10-hour days, 100-minute hours, and 100 seconds to the minute.

Now this is going to mess up all of those “metric” units (the Newton, unit of force, kg-m/s^2) depending on the second, but so be it in the name of proper reform.

1. Der Schtumpy says:

I’d rather go with the French Polynesian system.

Sleep late. Catch a fish. Cook a fish. Eat the fish. Take a nap. Hang out with topless girls catching and cooking fish. Go to bed early.

Repeat yesterdays schedule.

5. The old joke about inbred hillbillies with extra fingers and toes would be stood on its head.

1. Der Schtumpy says:

That’s a myth. It’s bad moonshine that causes those things NOT inbreedin’!

2. Rick C says:

Given that five-fingerism is a recessive trait, you could argue that six fingers is the standard, if not the norm. If it were the norm, we would probably already be using base 12.

1. Gregg says:

“you could argue that six fingers is the standard, ”

If that were the case, Inigo would have a heck of a time finding the 6 fingered man.

6. Makes me think I should switch to a Dvorak keyboard (actually did in the early 80s… briefly.) My diabetic fingers make it hard for me to type the letter A which often ends up being S which I have to constantly go back and correct.

7. Karl Hallowell says:

My view is that if the base is not strictly a power of 2, then it’s not worth considering. The vast majority of our calculations are at least in part in binary. Obviously, computers are doing most of that particular calculating. Hexadecimal would have a rather large multiplication table (though 16 is four bits, another power of two, which is why it’s so prevalent in computer programming), but octal would be easier to figure out than the current decimal multiplication tables.

1. Karl Hallowell says:

I should say here that I don’t advocate switching from base ten above, but if you’re going to change the system, it really doesn’t make sense to change it to any base that’s not a power of 2.

8. Ah, but what powerful insight might we miss as a civilization if we don’t immediately change to base 17? Superluminal flight? Telekinisis? Cereal that doesn’t get mushy?

9. Paul Milenkovic says:

But mushy cereal is the whole point.

If you get one of those hi-tech mush-resistant cereals, you end up swallowing one of those sharp edged flakes without crunching it upon slurping the sugared milk in the bottom of the bowl, and yowie, does that flake take a painful path!

1. Roy says:

What kind of cereal do you eat? It sure sounds like “Western Family” brand. You need to stop eating generic cereal, sometimes you get what you pay for.

10. MfK says:

There isn’t one chance in one bian that we’ll ever switch.

11. Lets see.
Seventy, eighty, ninty, dekty, eleventy
I’ve always wanted to count to eleventy!