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Huh, that's a good point. A better universal naming system would be something like "Base x+1", with x being one integer lower than 10. So humans would use Base 9+1, and the alien would use Base 3+1.

*This has been on my mind all day and the more I think about it, the more obvious it becomes how fundamentally terrible the name "Base-10" is. How did this never occur to the people who coined the term? Even the system I suggested is flawed as it's still trying to incorporate the same bad logic.

A better system would be something like Base 9, stopping shy of the respective 10 in each system, or if it

*needs*to be clarified, Base 9+0, as 0 is the extra digit in the first place, not 10.we'd only be able to represent bases for numbers with one digit though because what does base 15+1 mean? the 15 could be in any base higher than 5. the clearest way would probably be to just represent it with lines or something "base ||||||||||"

Base 16 is typically represented with letters being used as the extra numerals, so it would end up being F+1. Problem solved.

Base 16

Do you mean Base G?

All your base are belong to us

What the fuck is G?

It would be the digit representing a value of 16 (i.e. the amount of lines here: |||| |||| |||| ||||), if you're talking about it from the perspective of a number system with base 17 (|||| |||| |||| |||| |) or higher.

what about numbers larger than 16?

We've got base 64, though it doesn't quite follow the convention of starting with digits and following up with letters:

Base /+1 lol

what about numbers after 64? comment OP and i were trying to come up with a universal rule which we did in his response to my first comment

There are still 20 more letters that can be used as stand-ins. Things will get interesting if you try to go past Base 36, though.

this is exactly what i was trying to get at

Make up a new symbol?

Or use ancient scripts like Phoenician or Glagolitic.

It's only 15 to us because we use base 10 (or 9+1). Like how we have 4 through 9, but that aliens in the picture only count up to 3.

In the case of a mismatch, the culture using the higher base would just translate down (Base 21+1 in the given scenario).

Single units would probably be the simplest method, but also wildly impractical as the base gets higher. You really want to count each digit just to figure out someone uses Base 100?

that's fair, translating down is a good idea

wait until you find out about hexadecimal systems. It turns out we already have words for referring to numbers lol.

i know about hexadecimal, but what if you need to refer to a base larger than 16? i'm not saying it isn't possible to create symbols for every number, i'm saying if you have to describe your base with more than one digit, you encounter a problem of not knowing what base that multi-digit number is in.

well no, i know, i'm just saying that's it's not really that big of a problem, unless you're using octal, and you skill issue.

You should design base systems to be independent of each other, and hex does a really good job at this, because often times it's prepended with 0x to imply hex.

What about Roman numerals?

I think that would confuse things more than it would help. It's base 5, unless it's base 10, unless it's base 50, etc. And then there's the rules designating numbers 1 below certain other numbers, or 2 below, depending on the system being used. That's a whole web of complications when communication is already murky.

One glyph to one integer communicates the number system being used more clearly.

I use base 8+1. What is 9?