Saturday, 10 November 2012

Ten * Eleven * Twelve

Isn't today's date wonderful?!  It looks great (at least here in Europe ... probably less so to my American readers)!

Regular blog readers will know that I love numbers - I like them better than letters.  Can you count the reasons?
  • there are fewer of them - 10 as opposed to 26
  • they can be strung together any old  how to make newer, bigger (or smaller) numbers
  • unlike a random string of letters I can still read & pronounce 34218642556021756346906314580!
  • the everyday rules for manipulating numbers are pretty simple and very powerful - no past participles, no imperfect subjunctives, nothing irregular to trip you up - just adding and subtracting with some multiplying and dividing for speed!
  • two digits, not two letters are at the heart of the industrialised world: 0 and 1 are the binary representations of Boolean algebra that helped drive early mechanisation
  • you can count letters but you don't need to spell numbers
  • numbers are internationally recognised: I can write down my credit card number for a Norwegian, a Ukranian or a Mexican and they will all be happy
  • marking maths problems is quicker than marking English essays
  • numbers are lucky - have you ever heard of anyone having a lucky letter?
  • people understand you when you dictate a number - no confusion between 6 and 3 like there is between M & N or B & D; no need to behave like police dispatchers and spell out Oscar Uniform Tango
Unfortunately, in the hands of certain people numbers can be made into tools to trick and deceive the unwary.  My children are pretty fed up with me shouting at the TV adverts whenever a sale is announced with "up to 70% off" or a beauty product guarantees "up to 50%" of your wrinkles will be visibly reduced or your teeth will be "up to 4 shades lighter" after using a particular paste!  The adverts sound convincing, but those all important letters in the words "up to" render those poor numbers completely meaningless!

Do you like numbers?  How about Tens?  There are lots of them over at Shimelle's place - why not share your own?


Carrie Rosalind said...

I love this post! At the beginning I was all for the letters, but you're right - numbers are pretty awesome! :)

JulieJ said...

My daughter would agree with that - I'll have to show her later. I still love words though - you can't convey emotion with numbers. And how much richer are our scrapbooks pages with journalling?

K said...

read your title, saw the piccy of count & in my head I heard the "hahahaha", the thunder & the lightening flash :D

Please remember though that there is a darker side of numbers, the areas that are rarely spoken about, such as 7 8 9, how scary is that, cannibalism in the number world.

Sian said...

This is great!

Of course you know you have thrown me a challenge :) I might have to start thinking about the ways of the words..

Monica said...

Love your post!! You'd be great at selling icecream on the north pole!!!!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Great post! I love the 'up to 70% off' ads. I also like the ones that tell you this great new product costs 50% less but then never tells you what it is comparing itself too.

Missus Wookie said...

I'm in agreement with you for some stuff - but the . and , difference between us and the Europeans can confuse people not to mention the different ways people write their numbers 7s and 1s in particular (4s and 9s a bit too)

However, I do like numbers and enjoy working with them - except with some go a wandering and I can't work out where!

humel said...

You know I love numbers :) My favourite is pi, I think. I do rather like letters and words too, though.....

Jennifer Grace said...

I'm a letters girl myself, though I can understand your points! I like the one about dictating numbers, it can be very annoying explaining letters! x

Ladkyis said...

How do you stop them dancing? and how do you prevent them swapping places when you glance away? I like numbers but I love words...

Melissa said...

Great list of observations about numbers! I totally agree that advertisements can be very misleading when those words are added to the numbers.

Eleanor said...

Oh Jemma give me an English essay rather than a Maths problem any day! A great entertaining post, for all your promoting the case for numbers, you have a great way with words.

CoventryAnn said...

A vote for numbers any day!!! As one who has to mark and teach both english and maths, I love the certainty of numbers!

alexa said...

Yes, I can see the value of numbers (though I won't be giving up on language any time soon!) and your post has made me think and smile :).

Sassy Breese said...

Love this post. I have a soft spot for words that are numbers and the other way too.

Three cats when out in a boat. Their names were un, deux, and trois.
The boat springs a leak and sinks. What happens to the cats?
Un, deux, and trois cats (quatre) sank! (cinq)

Have decided that my lucky letter is B

Julene Matthews said...

Fantastic post! I must agree with you about the numbers.