June 14, 2012

Roman Numerals

My cousin Mason and I were talking this morning about clocks, roman numerals, numbers and other mysteries of the universe.  You know, normal breakfast small talk with 9 year olds.  He asked what the symbols were on the kitchen wall clock and I told him they were roman numerals. 

Side Note:  Mason is no exception to the rest of the
9 year olds that love asking a bajillion
 million questions about everything.
I had no history of roman numerals tucked away
 in my brain so I knew I was in trouble.

Well he asked me why people would use roman numerals when they could just use numbers, if I could count in roman numerals, if I knew all the symbols, if they have enough symbols to reach a bajillion million, etc.   As he asked I did my best to come up with an answer, but all the while looking at the digital clock on the stove and wondering.....  What if we would have never had numbers and just stuck with roman numerals?  Would our digital clocks be in roman numerals?  It was weird to think about.  I could see it happening though, because if you think about it, a loopy line makes this: 6, a sharp turned line makes this: 7, a squiggly line makes this: 3.  They are still just symbols, we're just use to them as numbers.

Crazy thoughts for a crazy awesome day.  I had more thoughts, but I think I'll spare you all my thoughts when I took a trip to the loo. ;)


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