In Praise of Zero

In Praise of Zero

The number 0 is a clever invention because it's an advanced concept. I wonder who had the idea of assigning a number to nothing!

For example, suppose you raise horses and keep them in a field. When buyers asked how many horses you have for sale you would say things like, "I have 6 horses", or "I have 22 horses."

Pretty simple math, right!

But then one night all your horses are stolen. The next day, when buyers ask how many horses you have for sale, instead of saying "all my horses have been stolen, so I'm out of business", you would hit them with the more positive statement, "oh, glad you came over, I have 0 horses for sale today".

The number 0, you gotta love it. It allows you to put a positive spin on the fact that you have nothing!

Oh, and another thing. The number 0 allows you to do more math. For example, take those 22 horses in the field, you can remove 5, or 11, or 15 and always get what's left by simple subtraction. But what if you remove all 22 horses, how many are left then? That involves solving the equation x=22-22 which only has a solution if you've invented the number 0.

So, the number 0 allows you to put a positive spin on the fact that you have nothing, and it extends your mathematical abilities. Neat number!

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott abbottsystems@gmail.com