Culture: Language: Alphabet
Googolplexidecimal   (+3, -6)  [vote for, against]
super-short counting

I propose a system of counting that has a googolplex-worth of numerals in each place-holder. Most printed numbers would take only one character to write out, which would totally smack down all the other methods of mathematical shorthand.

Also, there would be so many characters per number slot that math would become more interpretative, like the arts, so wrong results could be argued as a matter of opinion, i.e., "My squiggly line IS the same as the squiggly line in the answer key!"

Perhaps mathematicians would devise ways of differentiating -- if the writer of the character kicks out his left leg and rubs his belly while he writes it, it means seventy-seven thousand, three hundred and fifty two, if he winks one eye and whistles a middle C it means three hundred twenty-eight thousand, two hundred and fifty-six.

Math would become fun for artists!
-- CaptainClapper, Mar 30 2007

Quater-imaginary base http://en.wikipedia...ater-imaginary_base
[nuclear hobo, Mar 30 2007]

Information on googolplex http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googolplex
which is really big which makes this idea bad science. [jhomrighaus, Mar 30 2007]

/wrong results could be argued as a matter of opinion/

That has always been the problem with math - the lack of wiggle room. It is time to shake off the cold dead grip of logic when it comes to math. I have heard no more plausible prospect for doing so than this.

Except for that interpretive dance idea.
-- bungston, Mar 30 2007

I think most elementary math classes would fill up immediately at the start of a semester, if for no other reason than to see the professor perform the multiplication tables. Also, chemistry would be improved, as Avogadro's number (6.022 x 10^23) could involve some unusually embarassing actions/sounds to express.
-- CaptainClapper, Mar 30 2007

Sp. "gogolplex".

Ignoring the fact that Gogolplexidecimal is an oxymoron, base 256 maps to the ASCII 256 character set, and on a good day I can remember 62 of those (the characters, not their numeric values). Going the other way, reducing the size of the character set, would be easier than having to learn a googleplex of characters [link].
-- nuclear hobo, Mar 30 2007

it would be like Chinese, where nobody knows how to write everything! Prestige in the math world would be based on the number of numbers you can -er, spell!

and speaking of spelling, I spelt it rite. "Googolplex"
-- CaptainClapper, Mar 30 2007

GarglePlax - a more refreshing version of their mouthwash
-- phundug, Mar 30 2007

Could you provide an example of how this might be accomplished because I would guess that you would run out of space for the information very quickly.

See link but I would think we are dangerously close to mfd for bad science.
-- jhomrighaus, Mar 30 2007

How would you tell what digit was bigger than what?
-- phundug, Mar 30 2007

[jhomrighaus], the digits would be coupled with interpretative dance, as in the example, so we wouldn't run out of characters.

FOR EXAMPLE: the mathematician could inscribe a "~" on his paper, coupled with a succession of staccato honking noises and a quick pat on his backside. These extra variables -- the number/tone of honks and location of pat -- would reduce the number of needed written digits to a more manageable amount. In fact, more variables could be added as needed on the interpretative dance side of things.
-- CaptainClapper, Mar 30 2007

I can see the evening news: "As you can see behind me, Professor Schmurfmeyer is well on his way to writing the largest number ever recorded, written in Googolplexidecimal. The interpretative dance has been going on for two days, and EMT's are standing by in case he decides to include the number 'thirty-nine quadrillion, four hundred sixteen trillion, twenty-seven,' as we all remember the incident last year, which, sadly, resulted in the death of a teenage bystander. Rumors of a bill banning the number have been heard, but such a bill has not yet reached Congress."
-- CaptainClapper, Mar 30 2007

But how would you know the numbers value after its initial writing(performance)?
-- jhomrighaus, Mar 30 2007

You wouldn't, hence the need for interpretation! it's brilliant! Math would become as right/wrong as english, as long as the reader did watch the writer write it.
-- CaptainClapper, Mar 30 2007

It's already the case that math has an awful lot to do with writing. Of course, the people who don't speak math don't appreciate that, and instead like to pretend that doing math means writing very, very large numbers - the more advanced the math, the larger the numbers.

"My daughter is a very famous musician."
"Oh really? At how many decibels can she play?"
-- jutta, Mar 30 2007

one of the truly wonderful things about mathematics is that it is universal. Once one records an equation or a number it can be interpreted and manipulated by anyone now or in the future.(don't get stupid and go on a Japanese numbers look different kick, the underlying rules are the same) Since it would be interpretive this would no longer have anything to do with math and would be firmly planted in the world of art.
-- jhomrighaus, Mar 30 2007

[jutta], not just written, audio records could be kept as well, although the difficult part would be determining which bangs and bumps were claps, pats, and stomps, as well as the facial expressions of the inscribers.

I could argue that numbers DO get "bigger" as you get to higher and higher levels of math. Getting from one to two is much easier when you follow your way along a number line, as compared to subtracting i^2, or before knowing that there is an infinity of decimal places in between each integer. arguably, yes, the numbers haven't gotten bigger, but they have become more complex. Artists infer these sorts of things about life, music, colors, shapes. Mathematicians do this with numbers.

Perhaps this form of counting could only be taught in those "Math for English Majors" classes.
-- CaptainClapper, Mar 31 2007

[jhomrighaus], don't be silly. As mentioned in one of the annos, Professor Schmurfmeyer's work is very well remembered. It's not all in the writing; some of it is recorded in the broken furniture, and some in the police report...

Suddenly "call ambulance, rebuild kitchen" actually describes real mathematical information?
-- david_scothern, Mar 31 2007

//a "~" on his paper, coupled with ... extra variables -- the number/tone of honks and location of pat ... more variables could be added as needed//

Then it's still a positional number system.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Mar 31 2007

If I could give this idea more than one bun, I'd give you:

"wink shouting while moonwalking" buns

:)
-- not_only_but_also, Apr 02 2007

random, halfbakery