Originally posted by bothered
Well, let's see. 12 months in a year...
Seriously though. The base 12 was just a convienience at the time of time standardization that led to a measurable, acceptible unit. The hour. 2
sets of 12 in each day. 12a to 12p.
Well yes, but that's not base-12. That's just base-10 arbitrarily broken into 12 unit lengths. A base-12 counting system uses 12 as its radix rather
than 10, and repeats at 12 indefinitely. If there were 12 seconds in a minute, 12 minutes in an hour, 12 hours in a day, and 12 days in a week, then
yes, it would be a base-12 system. A claim can be made that the frequent multiples of 12 makes it a base-12 system, but that falls apart at any length
of time greater than a day, and just one exception breaks the rule.
Consider these:
Base-2 (binary)
0 - 1 - 10 - 11 - 100 - 101 - 110 - 111 - 1000 - 1001 - 1010 - 1011 etc
Base-8 (octal)
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 20 etc
Base-10 (decimal)
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 etc
Base-12 (duodecimal)
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - A - B - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 1A - 1B - 20 etc
Base-16 (hexadecimal)
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - A - B - C - D - E - F - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 1A - 1B - 1C - 1D - 1E - 1F - 20 etc
So for these 5 number systems, the number, oh, say, 137 is represented as:
Binary: 10001001
Octal: 211
Decimal: 137
Duodecimal: B5
Hexadecimal: 89
Notice a trend? In order for a system to be Base-n, it must stop and carry into the next column when it gets to n. Therefore, time and imperial
measure are not base anything, because they have no set radix. Metric does: 10
The reason I bring this up is it is very important to have your terminology right, especially when dealing with fringe topics. It can be very easy to
lose someone in an explanation if both sides are hearing the same thing but thinking differently.
[edit on 22/1/2007 by Thousand]