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# Standard Reference Zero

 (+2) [vote for, against]

Most numbers are plural, except one, which is singular –  there’s only one.

However, there’s also lots of zeroes – who knows how many, but it is a plural, like all the other numbers except one. For example: four cactii; three cactii; two cactii; one cactus; zero cactii.

I think it would be a good idea for science to actually count the zeroes, then we’d know how plural it is. Once we’ve counted them, we could simply substitute all the plural zeroes with the standard reference zero, which equates to any zero at all. Then we could count zero properly as if it is not more than a one, like two is.

It’d probably have to be kept under glass, in France somewhere, and measured periodically.

 — Ian Tindale, Oct 31 2018

Any number up to 3 is considered singular. [MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 31 2018]

The singular form is used for as many as nine. [MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 31 2018]

 // except one, which is singular – there’s only one //

 // four cactii; three cactii; two cactii; one cactus; zero cactii. //

four sheep; three sheep; two sheep; one sheep; zero sheep ?
 — 8th of 7, Oct 31 2018

 I have a strong suspicion, [Ian], that the plural of cactus is cacti. Only one "i". Personally, I find that this error (or, perhaps misdirection) calls into question an otherwise sound proposal.

I might also point out that the rule is not universally applicable. Bananas and potatoes are counterexamples, as everyone knows. <link><link>
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 31 2018

 // Only one "i" //

We have never seen a cactus with any sort of optical sensing organ. On the other hand, potatoes are reknowned for having multiple eyes, as many as eight being far from uncommon. This suggests that potatoes and spiders are related, which means that either potatoes are arthropods, or spiders are in fact a type of vegetable tuber.
 — 8th of 7, Oct 31 2018

If a cactus only had one i it’d be singular. The two iis are to denote plural, of course.
 — Ian Tindale, Oct 31 2018

Don't be stupiid.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 31 2018

Zero cacti is a mirage anyway. It actually fits the definition of an "imaginary" number, because somewhere between 0.00001 cactus and zero cacti, it disappears completely (on this side of the universe anyway!) Functionally there's no difference between zero potatoes and zero cacti, except in imaginary taste.
 — tumblewit, Nov 01 2018

Makes me wonder that in a row of planted potatoes and one is missing, is that a zero potato or a negative potato? Clearly, because it should be there, it is a negative potato but also, technically, it is a zero potato.
 — wjt, Nov 01 2018

 It would probably depend on if it was originally there or not.

You could also infer that a negative potato would be a NOT potato, which implies everything that is not a potato, including the set of all not potatoes itself.
 — RayfordSteele, Nov 01 2018

So... zero is a prime number.
 — 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Nov 01 2018

 No, because it's not divisible by 1. Prime numbers are integers having only two factors, 1 and the number itself (Sieve of Erastothenes).

Also, all prime numbers are odd; 3, 5, 7, 11. Since any even number is divisible by two, and any even number which has two subtracted from it is also even, and 2 - 2 = 0, zero is an even number and therefore cannot be prime.
 — 8th of 7, Nov 01 2018

 Actually, there is one even prime number: 2. It is considered prime, whereas 1 is not.

Hence Goldbach's conjecture that all even numbers greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two primes (the first one being 4, which =2+2).
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 01 2018

//Functionally there's no difference between zero potatoes and zero cacti//

Au contraire. In Ireland, the continued presence of zero cacti throughout its history was, & continues to be, of no consequence whatever*. But a sudden outbreak of zero potatoes (potati?) was a catastrophe.

*I am ignoring the presence of houseplants in this context because I want to. I am sure they are irrelevant but I can't be bothered to prove it with facts.
 — DrBob, Nov 01 2018

 // I can't be bothered to prove it with facts. //

[marked-for-tagline]
 — 8th of 7, Nov 01 2018

 //Functionally there's no difference between zero potatoes and zero cacti, except in imaginary taste.//

 We can, therefore, prove that potatoes and cacti are the same:

 Potatos are /items/, and so are cacti. Whether they are of different /types/ is to be seen. Let us suppose that we have a group of N items of the same type. If we remove an item from the group, we have a group of N - 1 items, all of the same type. If we add another item of the same type as those in the group, we have another group of N items. By our previous assumption, all the items are of the same type in this new group, since it is a group of N items. Thus we have constructed two groups of N items all of the same type, with N - 1 items in common. Since these two groups have some items in common, the two groups must be of the same type as each other. Therefore, combining all the items used, we have a group of N + 1 items of the same type. Thus if any N items are all the same type, any N + 1 items are the same type. This is clearly true for N = 1 (i.e. one item is a group where all the items are the same type). Thus, by induction, N items are the same type for any positive integer N. i.e. all items are the same type.

 //So... zero is a prime number.//

 //No, because it's not divisible by 1.//

Yes it is. 0/1=0
It even yields an integer.
 — Loris, Nov 01 2018

 //it would be a good idea for science to actually count the zeroes,

That's easy, weigh a hard disk, take off the cover then set it for max revs for a bit. Then weigh the disk again , all the 1's will have been centrifuged out, leaving just the zeros.
 — not_morrison_rm, Nov 01 2018

 // prove that potatoes and cacti are the same //

These french fries taste really weird ... is it maybe 'cos they're made from spiders ?
 — 8th of 7, Nov 01 2018

Thinking on this some more, it's about environment. Origin and zero are two different things. A zero potato is a volume of soil whereas a negative potato is a volume of soil with a void equal to a potato.
 — wjt, Nov 03 2018

Would it be true to say that if there is zero potato in the soil, then, providing there’s room in the soil for such potential, there’s more than one zero potati, or, if plural, potatii (just as there must have been more than one Pompei in Roman times). Hencethus, you could also say there are zero potatoes, indicating with a sweep of the gesture, a whole raft of no potatoes where there might have been.
 — Ian Tindale, Nov 03 2018

 // a whole raft of no potatoes //

Since potatoes aren't buoyant, that would float better than a raft of actual potatoes. The voids where potatoes could be, but aren't, when filled with air, would float quite well.
 — 8th of 7, Nov 03 2018

 Soli, zero potential parts company with potati or with more humus, potatii 'placement' reality.

[8th of 7] The voids, being surrounded by soil, have the raft of zero potential potatoes. Potential isn't that air tight.
 — wjt, Nov 03 2018

 Since quantum stuff is constantly popping in and out of existence and neutrinos are everywhere, can we really say that zero actually exists as nothing? And what does it mean to say that 'nothing' exists?

Where's one of those philosophy majors when we actually need them?
 — RayfordSteele, Nov 04 2018

You've made a mistake somewhere up there. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there's a difference between zero potatoes and zero spiders. Given a choice of which to eat, I'm taking the zero spiders every time. Give me any number of potatoes, zero or non- zero, but the spiders on my plate had darn well better be the zero of them.
 — lurch, Nov 04 2018

 [lurch] Deficiencies come in many forms. Never say never.

[RayfordSteele] That is the infinite question. Voids for change or just pretty infomatic spirograph swirls in the big book.
 — wjt, Nov 04 2018

If you multiply zero by an uncountably infinite number, like the cardinality of the set of transcendental numbers, for instance, is the result still zero? Is it a different result than multiplying it by the cardinality of the set of all natural numbers? Does the power of zero get exhausted after strictly enforcing that much ado about nothing?
 — RayfordSteele, Nov 05 2018

Things only have meaning when meaning is fully assigned. Please explain "multiply" in reference to a set of uncountable infinite numbers.
 — wjt, Nov 07 2018

So, let's say the value of aleph 1, or perhaps w+1, multiplied by zero. Would that result in aleph null? I don't want to break math, just bend it a little and see if it snaps back.
 — RayfordSteele, Nov 08 2018

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