Friday, February 16, 2007

The Ruler

I watched a documentary on Google video yesterday about the history of numbers, it was really quite good and covered it all in a very casual and comical way. One of the things you don’t really realise is that almost everything around you is possible because of numbers, more specifically that we all agree on the same numbers. The ancient Egyptians were the first to introduce the ruler, it was based on the length of a mans forearm and the width of his hand and was made on mass. The fact that they could agree on a common measuring system enabled them to do great things, and brought us structures such as the great pyramids.
Just as they key to effective building is measurement and common understanding, the same can be said to be true to effective communication. We need to use the same basic language to get our message across, but when we have that out of the way we need to make sure that we understand the details of that language.
Too many times arguments and disagreements are based on misunderstandings like here and here, and as long as both parties have different meanings for a key term, the discussion/argument/bar fight will never really get anywhere meaningful. Dictionaries exist for a reason.

1 comment:

Hugo said...

it's "en masse"