Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eight Is Enough

I had a random thought recently. It was awkwardly too big for a quick tweet but not quite big enough for a real blog post. Still I'll just write about it here before I forget.

As anyone who has seen even a modest amount of cartoons will know, most cartoon characters share the common trait of having only four fingers. Apparently this practice grew out of the plain fact that four fingered hands were easier and simpler to draw than five fingered hands. That made me wonder: in a world where everyone has only eight fingers and toes, shouldn't that world's number system be a base-8 system? I mean, our base-10 system has to be influenced to some degree by what we can count on our fingers, right? Asking a cartoon to count in a system of 10's would seem as awkward as us only counting in a system of 8's.

Oddly enough according to Wikipedia this base-8 system, called octal, and has been used sporadically by people and cultures throughout history. Apparently the Na'vi in "Avatar" use an octal system due to the fact that they only have four fingers on each hand.

This is probably the most math I will ever get into on this blog. And no I am not high.

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