Hey! Sign in to get help with your study questionsNew here? Join for free to post
 You are Here: Home

# Technology requiring a zero

Announcements Posted on
Talking about ISA/EMPA specifics is against our guidelines - read more here 28-04-2016
1. Hello folks! Got a bit of a weird question here. I watched an episode of Stargate where they encountered alien technology. They've tried translating the alien language for numbers, starting from 1 and going up, but they keep getting a passcode wrong. Eventually they realize that they missed out translating the zero when one of the characters said "technology this sophisticated would require a zero". My question is why would advanced technology require a zero? The best explanation I could come up with is that every other number is an absolute of a specific amount whereas zero denotes nothingness, and that that is significant someone, but I couldn't figure out why. Am I even on the right lines?
2. (Original post by Bart1331)
Hello folks! Got a bit of a weird question here. I watched an episode of Stargate where they encountered alien technology. They've tried translating the alien language for numbers, starting from 1 and going up, but they keep getting a passcode wrong. Eventually they realize that they missed out translating the zero when one of the characters said "technology this sophisticated would require a zero". My question is why would advanced technology require a zero? The best explanation I could come up with is that every other number is an absolute of a specific amount whereas zero denotes nothingness, and that that is significant someone, but I couldn't figure out why. Am I even on the right lines?
0 is the additive inverse so without it you can't properly define addition.
3. Numbers came from counting objects. 0 is a term vital to that counting. 'We have 0 apples so we're going to starve'. 'I have 0 money to pay you'. Its a pretty basic function of an organised society. And we're assuming it takes an organised society to make such technology.

The alternative would be a world where numbers were conceived of later on in a purely hypothetical sense and they go straight from 1 to -1. Its possible i guess, but highly unlikely to come about in a practical sense.
4. (Original post by msmith2512)
0 is the additive inverse so without it you can't properly define addition.
Not quite...0 is the additive identity
5. (Original post by Bart1331)
Eventually they realize that they missed out translating the zero when one of the characters said "technology this sophisticated would require a zero". My question is why would advanced technology require a zero?
Where would binary be without a zero? Unary, not the best counting system for a computer (viz. technology).

Sometimes, not infrequently, they dumb down a bit of science, just for the sake of making an obvious discover. I suspect it's to show how clever one of the "science officers" is, or to pad out the programme to make the required length for it's scheduled slot.

Submit reply

## Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
1. this can't be left blank
that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
2. this can't be left blank
this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
3. this can't be left blank

6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

4. this can't be left empty
your full birthday is required
1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register
2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: October 12, 2012
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

This forum is supported by:
Today on TSR

### How to predict exam questions

No crystal ball required

Poll
Useful resources

## Make your revision easier

### Maths Forum posting guidelines

Not sure where to post? Read here first

### How to use LaTex

Writing equations the easy way

### Study habits of A* students

Top tips from students who have already aced their exams

Can you help? Study help unanswered threads

## Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups
Study resources
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.