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Access "Were those crazy Mayans thinking about storage?"

Published: 18 Oct 2012

Give or take a few million years, the Mayans say we’re doomed; but our data storage systems may be living on borrowed time right now. One reading of the stelae discovered in the ancient ruins in and around the Yucatan Peninsula holds that the world is kaput as of December 21, 2012. So you can understand why I wanted to get this column published now. While the consensus of the scientific community regarding the Mayan Apocalypse is that somebody did their math wrong by omitting the exponent that properly places the end of everything at a somewhat later date (41 octillion or 4.124105 x 1028 years after this December), you just never know. Exponents, or “powers of 10” as my first math teacher called them, are shorthand expressions after all. As such, they’re simplifications intended to limit the number of integers required to express large numeric values so we can do math with our fingers or fit big numbers onto the screens of our smartphone calculator applications. While useful, the incorrect use of exponents can lead to error and misapprehension. Instead of ... Access >>>

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