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By tradition: We are "Writing numbers Backwards"!

Last Up date:
2007 May 12

This Page started on: 2007 May 11 16:39:53
There is good reason to say we are writing numbers backwards. For
example: The number of seconds in a day is: 86,400 mathematically what
this means is:

8×10^{4}+
6×10^{3}+
4×10^{2}+
0×10^{1}+
0×10^{0}

Our rules for how we do Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and
Division; are based on this positional meaning. Which is quite elegant,
but given that we read from left to right; it would be better if the
number were written the other way around: 00468. This still means:

0×10^{0}+
0×10^{1}+
4×10^{2}+
6×10^{3}+
8×10^{4}

But notice. To write the above I didn't have to find the end then
count backwards to figure out the power of ten. I just start with zero
and count up for each successive digit. *Trust me! This
is also an advantage when we do arithmetic on numbers as well.*

When we read a whole number like 5280 our eyes have to scan to the
right end to count the digits, so we can say: Five thousand, two
hundred, eighty. That scan and back-up would not be necessary if we
wrote this number: 0825 said something like: Eighty, two hundred and
five thousand. *Yes, I know change seems awkward, at first.* But,
reading it would be faster and simpler. Don't let "leading zeros"
disturb you. They are as important as trailing zeros are when written as
we now do. In this "reversed system" trailing zero's would not be
written. *Unlike our current system extra zero's, or spaces, would not
be used/needed to line up the decimal point.*

As we all know, we have to start on the "units end" of numbers when we
do: Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplication. This would be cleaner if
numbers were written backward from the present convention. Even Division
would be cleaner because, going to the right to start would simplify
locating the decimal point.

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