Chapter 14. Two examples of habits

Nikolay (unDEFER) Krivchenkov


In this article I will cite two examples of habits. What unusual, often not worse, and perhaps even better, but sometimes getting accustomed can take a long time.

The first example - a numeral system. All of us from a school used the fact that there are ten digits, that number "10" designates quantity "ten" which goes directly after nine. We have learnt the multiplication table and rules of addition for a decimal numeral system.

However, imagine that the main numeral system became not decimal, but duodecimal. That is by the way quite probable, after all, division of a clock dial into twelve did not come out on purpose. The duodecimal numeral system too was once popular.

So, here if the history turned out differently, actually a little things would changed. Probably, there would be others signs of digits, but further we will designate digit ten as A, and eleven - B.

In the rest children at schools also would study the multiplication table:

   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  A  B
1  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  A  B
2  2  4  6  8  A  10 12 14 16 18 1A
3  3  6  9  10 13 16 19 20 23 26 29
4  4  8  10 14 18 20 24 28 30 34 38
5  5  A  13 18 21 26 2B 34 39 42 47
6  6  10 16 20 26 30 36 40 46 50 56
7  7  12 19 24 2B 36 41 48 53 5A 65
8  8  14 20 28 34 40 48 54 60 68 74
9  9  16 23 30 39 46 53 60 69 76 83
A  A  18 26 34 42 50 5A 68 76 84 92
B  B  1A 29 38 47 56 65 74 83 92 A1

and addition rules of duodecimal digits. Thus also there would be favourite and not favourite units in this multiplication table. An equivalent of popular calculation in 10th numeral system 5x5=25, would become 6x6 = 30, and an equivalent 6x6 = 36 -- 9x9 = 69.

Also as in a decimal number system it is easy to write the multiplication table on 9, in duodecimal - on B. For this purpose at first write to a column consistently the next equations

2xB =
3xB =
AxB =
BxB =

Then to the right of an equal-sign consistently write digits from 1 to A and at last more to the right to them assign upside-down from A to 1.

If now at schools study divisibility tests by 2, 5, 10 in a duodecimal number system would study divisibility tests by 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 (it is twelve, not ten).

And instead of divisibility tests by 3 and 9 would be studied only divisibility tests by B only.

As you can see almost nothing would changed. The duodecimal numeral system is not worse than decimal, and in something even better. But try manually to make some calculations:

1) A+A = ?
2) A3B + 287 = ?
3) B7 x 3A = ?
4) A358 / A7 = ?

If you even make all these calculations without an error precisely will spend a lot of time. Here answers for verification:

1. 18
2. 1106
3. 384A
4. B8

The point here is not in the complexity duodecimal numeral system, but only in a habit. The decimal numeral system for years has very deeply "ingrained" in our brain and if you want also easy to calculate in a duodecimal numeral system, a couple of weeks or months of trainings is necessary. Here's what the habit means.

The second example, is the script (writing system). All of us have very much got used to letter script. Absolute number of the world languages only support this habit - distinctions of symbols in them basically minimum. Very few people knows about alternative writing. For example, phonostenography. Thanks to using for information coding not only shapes, but also layout over string of characters, this system allows to make record especially compactly. Here, for example, as in such record the previous sentence approximately looks:

Example of record by phonostenography

Actually compactness is not a particular advantage of this record (it fits approximately on the same area as usual text). The main advantage is writing speed, and at the same time labour input. Phonostenography master can easily write the speech even of fluently speaking person. But training takes approximately the same time as usual writing takes in elementary school. Only after one-two years of practice you can feel all advantages of this system. To learn to write enough quickly with such script, I had trained oneself about half a year (the whole term in university). But unfortunately having learnt to write fast, I had not time to learn fast read. Then lectures at university have already come to an end, and further trainings became ineffective. As you can see it is stronger example of the habit and learning capability of a human.

Doubtless unDE will offer some things which in spite of all its objective advantages will be unusual and difficult at first using. However, everything will be done, that new habits framing so quick as it possible. And the main thing is that there will not be changes for the sake of changes. All changes of the habitual interface will be made only for increase in convenience of the user, and on a project site it will be possible to read detailed explanations of the objective reasons of such changes. Logo