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by Chris Burke
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941: Happy New Years Eve 2015!
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Mr. Michael Keegan, Math Teacher

At least he came to give moral support. Two to the thirteenth won't be around for a while!

Two notes: First, 2^11 - 2^5 - 1 = 2015. That is to say, if all the powers of two, up to 10, were included, the sum would be 2047, which is one less that 2 to the 11th, which is 2048. Second, let's not forget the Y2048 bug! Or maybe the Y2(11) bug, just to be creative. Yes, it's true -- some really old computers, which will be really, really old 33 years from now, will have a problem handling the year as 2 to the 11th power. It should prove as Earth-shattering as Y2K did.

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UPDATE: The Making of a Webcomic

This comic started with an 11-digit binary number, 10 ones and 1 zero. I thought it would be funnier if I used the powers of 2 instead, so I needed 11 twos. And then I decided to include the next power as an extra gag. So I needed to draw 12 twos.

Rather than use one of the two twos I usually use and instead of typing the twos, I decided to try on of the paint programs on my tablet and doodled them. I was worried that they might be too snakelike -- and then I was worried that I'd doodled a row of ducks. (I have to keep this in mind if I ever need ducks again.) Then I made the smaller numeric exponents from 12 on down to 0. Colored it in and emailed it to me PC.

Putting it together I realized that I had too many exponents and not enough twos! Oops! I made a mistake. BUT I PICKED THE WRONG MISTAKE! The problem wasn't that I didn't have enough 2s (and quickly created an extra). The problem was that if the lowest exponent was zero, then the highest exponent I needed was 11.

And somehow though all the checking and proofreading -- including all that stuff above (which I have since corrected) -- none of this popped into my head. Of course, moving to 2^11 power would be a bigger problem than moving to 2^12. Some things are stored as 10 bits (I don't know why, but they were) but nothing would be stored as 11 bits (well, maybe -- programmers are strange).

Anyway, the correction has been made. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


Please visit my blog: http://mrburkemath.blogspot.com.
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