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4. Math > 40. Count to a Million on Your Fingers

Count to a Million on Your Fingers

You can use binary arithmetic to count to more than a million on your fingers.

You probably already know that you can use Chisenbop [Hack #39] to count to 100 or more and do simple arithmetic on your fingers. If you switch from the decimal numeral system to binary, however, you can use your fingers to count to about 220, which is 1,048,576—more than a million!1

The Binary Numeral System

First, let’s review the binary numeral system. (If you don’t need a review, you can skip to the next section.)

The number system we use normally is called the decimal numeral system because it is based on powers of 10. For instance:

4309 = (4 x 1000) + (3 x 100) + (0 x 10) + (9 x 1)

  

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