Saturday, January 16, 2010
The Babylonians had a very advanced number system even for today's standards. It was a base 60 system (sexigesimal) rather than a base ten (decimal). Base ten is what we use today.The Babylonians divided the day into twenty-four hours, each hour into sixty minutes, and each minute to sixty seconds. This form of counting has survived for four thousand years.Any number less than 10 had a wedge that pointed down.
The number 10 was symbolized by a wedge pointing to the left.
Numbers less than 60 were made by combining the symbols of 1 and 10.
As with our numbering system, the Babylonian numbering system utilized units, ie tens, hundreds, thousands.
However, they did not have a symbol for zero, but they did use the idea of zero. When they wanted to express zero, they just left a blank space in the number they were writing.
When they wrote "60", they would put a single wedge mark in the second place of the numeral.
When they wrote "120", they would put two wedge marks in the second place.
Following are some examples of larger numbers.
| (24*603) + (10*602) + (1*60) + 2|
I chose this system as I have a video game that has these symbols on the walls of the game. So I felt a bit curious.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a global program created to get children excited about science and technology. A hands-on program for ages 9 to 16 (9 to 14 in the U.S. and Canada), FLL uses challenges based on real world scientific problems to engage children in research, problem solving, and engineering. The cornerstone of the program is its Core Values, which emphasize friendly sportsmanship, learning, and community involvement.
Each yearly Challenge has two parts, the Project and the Robot Game. Working in teams of three to ten children and guided by at least one adult coach, teams have 8 weeks to:
- Build an autonomous robot to carry out pre-designed missions in 2 minutes and 30 seconds
- Analyze, research, and invent a solution to a real world problem
The culmination of all that hard work for many teams is the participation in an FLL event – much like a high energy sporting event. Referees monitor and score the Robot Game. Judges review team presentations. An FLL event is a pumped-up environment with music and excitement that celebrates the work the children have done throughout the season.