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Friday, January 28, 2011

Bonus Blog #4 - 1/28/11

Today's Bonus Blog features a mathematical tool.  You are probably aware that numbers can be written in different formats, or "bases" (the word "radix" can also mean "base").  Our number system uses base 10, meaning there are ten possible choices for each digit, 0-9.  Binary numbers (base 2) only have two choices:  0 and 1.  Numbers systems in bases greater than 10 use letters in addition to numbers, for example  hexadecimal (base 16) is a commonly used one that contains the numbers 0-9 and letters A-F.

Numbers can be written in combinations of letters and numbers in any base up to base 36, which contains the numbers 0-9 and letters A-Z.   A number of different puzzle makers make use of these alternate number formats.  The site below can transform a number in any base to any other base.  This has been a very valuable tool for me in solving puzzles constructed in this way.  Give it a try and see if it doesn't become one of your favorites as well.

Digit Convert

Next week:  A useful translator.

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