From: George W Gerrity (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jun 22 2007 - 22:15:07 CDT
On 2007-06-23, at 06:01, JFC Morfin wrote:
> At 17:07 22/06/2007, George W Gerrity wrote:
>> It seems to me that a lot of effort has been wasted in discussing
>> something that has no earthly and not even any theoretical use.
>> Could we drop it?
> Sure, this is what I had done ....
> However, I must point out the great power of human imagination. I
> just asked a typographer level question, and responses including
> yours did not address my problem, but were a good exercise for the
You asked a question that has no meaning, typographically.
Typographers (as typographers) don't create new symbols: rather, they
create consonant sets of symbols based on existing ones, that are
legible and beautiful based on prior forms, for a given use. For
instance, the symbols may be Roman glyphs, and the typographer may be
asked to create a form that conveys a certain mood for an
advertisement, or a company logo.
If, in fact, a typographer is being asked to create a Logo, then (s)
he is acting as an industrial design artist, while using their
background as typographer as creative sources for this entirely new
There is no use for human-readable symbols for numbers with mixed
bases, or bases greater than 16, say, and the typographer (qua
typographer) has no interest in creating entirely new symbols for them.
In making that comment, I am well aware that the Babylonians used a
mixed-base system whose bases where 60 and 36 (from memory), and that
about the same time, scholars in North India were doing computations
with similar bases. I don't believe either group used 36 or 60
separate symbols: rather, they did their computations using mixed
bases because they found it to be easier, since a true positional
single-base system was yet to be developed.
Even if these ancients did have a separate set of symbols for base
60, say, we have no need of them. I have an article somewhere that
discusses computations and computational algorithms used by the
ancients, even translating the source text into English, with
illustrations of the computations involved. The author of this
article found no need to use symbols other than 0–9 to talk about the
Dr George W Gerrity Ph: +61 2 6386 3431
GWG Associates Fax: +61 2 6386 4431
P O Box 229 Time: +10 hours (ref GMT)
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