# A Quick Animated History of Why We Use the Numbers We Use

I find the history of numbers so much more fascinating than the application of numbers. Who cares about learning calculus, when you can geek out on the brief history of numerical systems?

I find the history of numbers so much more fascinating than the application of numbers. Who cares about learning calculus, when you can geek out on the brief history of numerical systems?

File under: possibly useful information to share at the next cocktail party.

Math is basically magic. So it’s no surprise that a clever use of the Fibonacci numbers—a series of numbers (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.) where each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers—and a super-slick shuffling method can combine for a card trick that makes it impossibly easy to guess the number and suit of the…

In other news, a bear shits in the woods and the Pope is Catholic.

Assuming you can say two digits a second and have evolved beyond the need for food, sleep, or a social life, the largest prime number ever discovered would take you more than four months to even say. So you’ll forgive the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search project, the impressive minds behind the discovery, if they…

Here’s a nice, simple topic for first thing on a Friday morning: do numbers really exist? Well, do they?

Most people will probably remember the times tables from primary school quizzes. There might be patterns in some of them (the simple doubling of the 2 times table) but others you just learnt by rote. And it was never quite clear just why it was necessary to know what 7 x 9 is off the top of your head.

Lincoln Chafee has launched Democratic presidential bid with at least one interesting proposal: he wants the U.S. to go metric.

The practice of pricing fuel with a fraction of a penny is thought to have started around the 1930s. While we can’t be sure who was the first to price fuel this way, it seems to have become relatively commonplace across the United States all the sudden around the same time. So what happened? In short- taxes and the…

When you throw a coin in the air to make a decision, you'd expect the outcome of the toss to be 50-50 whether you catch it or let it land on the ground. But, according to randomness expert Persi Diaconis, that's simply not true.

The digital world runs on binary. But while numbers made up of ones and zeroes is easy enough to get your head round, what happens when you need to express a negative number in digital form?

The Oxfam charity grabbed headlines this week with a report on global wealth inequality. Their primary data source was the (much more in-depth) Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, which in 2014 specifically focused on the same subject.

So, you want ensure you always win whenever you play the wonderful time-waster that is Dots and Boxes? The secrets, believe it or not, is not to get greedy.

Ever wondered what the numbers on your toaster... really... mean? This video explains.

Of all the infinitely many numbers in existence, the number seven appears to be humanity's favorite. Why?

How much do Gawker readers trust meteorologists? What do they think of The Weather Channel? We asked, and you answered. Thousands of readers clicked through to take our survey aimed at studying your habits and opinions when it comes to the weather. Let's take a look at the results.

For hundreds of years, x has been the go-to symbol for the unknown quantity in mathematical equations. So who started this practice?

Although the task of determining how many people attend something as large as say, a political rally or a protest may seem like a daunting, almost impossible undertaking to do with any accuracy, with some basic information, it's actually not that difficult to get reasonably accurate results.

Though you might not often need to do it, reading text in binary in surprisingly straightforward. Here's your new nerdy party trick.

The Field medal is mathematics' answer to the Nobel Prize, and this year's winners have just been announced. Amongst them is Manjul Bhargava, one of the youngest people to be made a full professor at Princeton University, aged 28, whose work is inspired by... the Rubik's Cube?