Science: Mathematics
Dos dedos, mi amigos   (+18, -5)  [vote for, against]
Two more fingers for you, to assist in counting.

The base-10 number system that we've inherited from our fool forefathers is, frankly, anachronistic, inefficient, and ill-suited to a modern, go-ahead sort of world. Ten only divides by two and five, and to be honest five isn't the sort of number you often need to divide things by. Twelve, on the other hand, divides by 2, 3, 4, and 6, all of which are frequently used divisors. Therefore a base-12, or duodecimal, number system would be a great improvement and save countless man-hours of mental arithmetic.

Duodecimal number systems are not unknown - as most halfbakers are doubtless aware, several languages of the Niger-Kordofian group use duodecimal counting systems, notably Janji, but also Kahugu, Gure, and Piti. With their clear superiority in terms of arithmetic, it is obvious that the only reason we persist with a base-10 system is the coincidence that we happen to have 10 fingers.

Which brings us to the nub of the idea. I propose that all new children should be genetically modified to have 6 fingers on each hand. I realise that the mere mention of genetic modification will induce hyperventilation and severe synaesthesia in several 'bakers, but I believe that in this case accusations of magic would be incorrect. People have been known to be born with six fingers per hand, and in the near future it shouldn't be too hard to isolate this mutation and introduce it to the human germ line all over the world. Given the huge benefits this would bring when dividing by three or four, I ask you all to back this proposal, and give two fingers to the world's children.
-- spacemoggy, Dec 12 2004

Societies have changed from decimal to duodecimal before.
[spacemoggy, Dec 12 2004]

(?) Chisenbop http://klingon.cs.i...rris/chis/chis.html
Counting to 99 on your fingers [spacemoggy, Dec 13 2004]

Polydactyly in consanguineous parents http://www3.intersc.../110525276/abstract
[Klaatu, Jul 10 2008]

PWEI http://en.wikipedia...Pop_Will_Eat_Itself
a fun little band. [ye_river_xiv, Nov 18 2008]

How to count to 99 with your fingers. http://www.wikihow....-99-on-Your-Fingers
[theGem, Nov 19 2008]

Binary wrist watch https://www.getdigi...-Watch-The-One.html
If you can read this... [8th of 7, Dec 12 2019]

wouldn't two more thumbs be more useful ?
-- neilp, Dec 12 2004

Opposing thumbs? (as opposed to opposable thumbs)

"I do not mean to pry, but you don't by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?"

Why stop there with the magic act? Eight fingers per would make handier hands for me when working in hexadecimal.

You could more easily lop off one finger per hand for an octal population.

A single digit will suffice for those of the binary persuasion.
-- half, Dec 12 2004

yeah, I reckon we've got enough fingers, so if [spacemoggy] wants to reach for the 12, we should add on another thumb to each hand.
-- neilp, Dec 12 2004

Two thumbs definately. Then we could easily communicate 2, 4, or 6 with gestures of: only thumbs, only fingers, or both. Odd numbers would require (through legislation) combinations of fingers and thumbs.

This would be immensely useful in, um, ... nevermind then.
-- swamilad, Dec 13 2004

We've had this discussion before, but I'm damned if I can remember the idea. Someone pointed out that you can, through clever use of your digits, use them to count to ninety-nine. The non-thumb digits of one hand represent one, the thumb represents five – so the maximum on that hand is nine. The other hand represents tens, so with all fingers extended you have ninety-nine. Seventy-six would be, say, left hand (ones): thumb + finger; right hand (tens): thumb + two fingers.

I wish I could remember who it was, to give them credit. Own up, if you're still here.
-- Detly, Dec 13 2004

I think the idea was Quicker Counting (see above). The counting method you mention was Chisenbop; I've put up the same link [bungston] gave on that idea. However, this idea is not about counting, but about arithmetic - whatever clever arithmetic techniques you use, you're still left with the problem that base-10 does not divide very nicely.
-- spacemoggy, Dec 13 2004

Oh right. I misread the gist of the idea.
-- Detly, Dec 13 2004

Never mind all that GM hand business; simply use a glove with an additional bendy finger.
-- Ling, Dec 13 2004

damn. i just bought a new set of evening gloves.
-- benfrost, Dec 13 2004

I am compelled to bun for the last line of the idea.
-- DocBrown, Dec 13 2004

//Someone pointed out that you can, through clever use of your digits, use them to count to ninety-nine.//

Actually you can count up to 1023 on your fingers, if you can count in binary and have good dexterity. Or even more than that, if you can put your fingers in more than 2 storage positions.
Or as much as you like: One trillion, two trillion, three trillion...
-- Loris, Dec 13 2004

Octal would be so much easier to implement.
-- RayfordSteele, Dec 14 2004

There's no such thing as a middle finger in this utopian world of yours.
-- yabba do yabba dabba, Dec 14 2004

Can't make an omlette without breaking some eggs. We'll just have to sacrifice the "middleness" of that finger in the name of progress.
-- gardnertoo, Dec 15 2004

lets-all, genetic enginering. Bun.
-- Voice, Jul 10 2008

No need for genetic modification. Just use your thumb to touch whichever of the three segments of your four fingers corresponds to the number you want. 3x4 = 12, so there you go. I remember reading about someone who proposed this, in a book about weird organisations, but I read it 20 years ago now so not much chance of digging up the reference, sorry.
-- imaginality, Jul 10 2008

Why not just marry your first cousin? <link>
-- Klaatu, Jul 10 2008

4 thumbs up [+]... might want to increase the dexterity of ring and pinky too
-- FlyingToaster, Jul 10 2008

As I read this, I thought that this is an argument against creationism. After all the suggestion is, if man were perfect, we would have 12 fingers, not 10. Then I thought some more and realized that if we add the number of our ears to the finger count, we would have 12 digits, making man, again the perfect being with a dozen fingers. If we had a dozen persons then we would have a gross.

What is also gross is the French created decimal system based on the Roman numeral X, which has only two divisors, a very limited number for commerce. I think it’s because they drink wine. If they drank beer, then they would understand the meaning of a pint, the next commercially efficient number after 12 and twice the size of a cup. Then again, you can't measure a cup by a ruler or even by a yardstick.

No self respecting Englishman would order a 0.473176473 liter at the pub.

el dueno
-- el dueno, Jul 10 2008

Damn those Pesky French, [el_dueno]!.
They invent things before us (like the Internet and Self-Removing-Trousers), and they invent them WRONG!.
-- gnomethang, Jul 10 2008

"if we add the number of our ears to the finger count, we would have 12 digits"

gives whole new meaning to playing by ear!

well shoot if your counting any appendage that sticks out of our body as a finger, we've got a lot more than 12!!!

on a side note i could use a second thumb for when the first one gets cramped (when driving that is you sick monkeys)
-- Arcanus, Nov 18 2008

12 fingers isn't enough - the real ideal would be 16, giving us the ability to count or otherwise communicate using a pair of 8-bit 'words' - either 255 per hand, or for a double-byte encoded system of 65535 symbols - which really should be plenty.

But if we're going to do any genetic engineering, it should be to provide people with the ability to unambiguously extend or retract each digit entirely independently of one another; When I try to count binarily on one hand, I start running into trouble when I get to eight (numbering 1,2,4,8,16 from thumb, forefinger, etc through to little finger, my 16 digit kind of follows whatever my 8 digit tries to do) which limits my ability to quickly perform binary arithmetic. If we fixed this, we'd be so much cooler. Guaranteed.
-- zen_tom, Nov 18 2008

I like it ... the maths part of it that is. A bun from me.
-- Domser, Nov 19 2008

Thats right! 640K is enough for anyone!
-- Voice, Nov 19 2008

You don't need genetic engineering to achieve this, simply go down to the crossroads at midnight and sell your soul to the Devil á la Robert Johnson.
-- DrBob, Nov 19 2008

Ten fingers ought to be enough for anyone.
-- phundug, Nov 19 2008

// Someone pointed out that you can, through clever use of your digits, use them to count to ninety-nine. // [Detly]

There's a Wikihow entry [link] that shows you how to count to 99 with your fingers. It really comes in handy if you are singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall" in sign language.
-- theGem, Nov 19 2008

hmm... is this an argument against creationism based on the observation that an extra couple of thumbs would make arithmetic (a human process) more easily doable ?
-- FlyingToaster, Nov 20 2008

Since I have just thought of this (again), I shall give it the annual churn.
-- moomintroll, Dec 10 2009

I like this idea. However, I rarely count on my fingers so there may be no need for actual body modification. It would be useful to be able to do mental arithmetic in base-12 and base-8 though.
-- hippo, Dec 11 2019

Tautology, shirley ? If you count on your fingers, is it not physical arithmetic, rather than mental arithmetic ?

Besides, using just the four fingers on each human hand to represent two Hex digits, counting up to 0xFF is easy ...
-- 8th of 7, Dec 11 2019

See? The metric system isn't all it's cracked up to be.
-- RayfordSteele, Dec 12 2019

The metric system (SI) isn't better than the Imperial system because of the "10", it's better because it's ALWAYS 10, as opposed to the 14, 16, 8, whatever, factors the Imperial uses. If the "normal" number system was base 12, so would the metric system be.
-- neutrinos_shadow, Dec 12 2019

The "normal" number system of your planet is now binary, and has been for fifty years; it just hasn't trickled down to the consciousness of the mass of the population yet.
-- 8th of 7, Dec 12 2019

On the one hand, yes; but on the other, nothing actually has a (visually readable) output that is in binary (other than a light switch). It's always converted into something else (generally decimal, but also duodecimal/sexagesimal). It's too in-efficient for space, would be a good reason...
-- neutrinos_shadow, Dec 12 2019

// nothing actually has a (visually readable) output that is in binary //

Numerous devices have such displays; not counting the front panels of the PDP family of minicomputers, and similar systems, it is possible to purchase a wristwatch with a binary display. <link>
-- 8th of 7, Dec 12 2019

[8th of 7]; I stand corrected (even though I'm currently sitting down...).
-- neutrinos_shadow, Dec 12 2019

random, halfbakery