October 10th, 2010 , if you hadn’t noticed is Binary Day. 10-10-10 is a special day, because it only appears on the calendar rarely. For example, did you know that November 11th, 2011 will be the last one of this century? This Binary Day is particularly special because 42 happens to be the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything that was proposed in the cult classic Douglas Adams sci-fi novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
So how should you celebrate Binary Day? Well, there are no hard and fast rules for celebrating Binary Day. If you have a geeky idea that inspires you, then run with it, but if you are stuck for ways to celebrate the day, then here are a few suggestions:
Read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series again. The series is comprised of five novels, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe, and Everything, So, Long and Thanks for All the Fish, and Mostly Harmless.
If you want to save a few bucks, you can get the The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which collects all five of the series novels in a one volume omnibus. It is even available for the Kindle!
You could listen to the original BBC radio drama that started the whole series of books on CD, or even download it for your phone or mp3 player here from Audible.com!
You could wear a towel for the day.
A towel, the Guide says,” is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
To every question thrown your direction you could offer the ultimate answer: 42.
Share binary encoded messages with your friends all day with this handy text to binary, and binary to text converter.
or you can learn how to count in Binary:
How to Count In Binary
Counting in Binary only looks difficult. It’s actually very easy. I want you to imagine a light switch. This switch has two positions, on and off. When the switch is turned on, it turns on one light bulb. When the switch is turned off, it turns the light bulb off.
We’ll call this “Switch 1.”
Imagine the light switch is on a wall. To the left of Switch 1, there is another switch. We’ll call this one “Switch 2.” Switch 2 is exactly like Switch 1, except that when you turn Switch 2 on, two lightbulbs light up instead of just one.
Let’s review: Switch 1 turns on one light.Switch 2 turns on two lights. When both switches are on, three light bulbs are lit.
Pretty simple, right?
Well, that’s really all there is to binary. Let’s call the “Off” position on the switch “0,” and call the “On” position “1.”
If we want no lights on, we need “00” or “Off Off.” Both switches are off, no lights are lit. If we want one light on, we need “01” or “Off On.” Switch 1 is on, Switch 2 is off, so only one light bulb is on. If we want two lights on, we use “10” meaning “On Off” and Switch 2 lights up the two bulbs. And if we want three lights on, we use “11” meaning “On On.” Both switches are on, and all three bulbs are lit.
Here’s where it can get tricky.
The next light switch on the wall is Switch 3. However, Switch 3 doesn’t light up three bulbs. It lights up FOUR bulbs. Because binary is what we call “base 2,” each switch controls DOUBLE the number of bulbs as the switch on its right. Like this:
Bulb Bulb Bulb Bulb
3 2 1
Now we can make any combination of lights from zero to seven light up, like so:
5 = Switch 3 on, Switch 2 off, Switch 1 on (4 lights + 1 light = 5 lights.)
If we record the switches as ones and zeroes to represent which ones are on and off, that is 101.
If we make a row of 8 switches, doubling the number of lights that each switch controls, we have the following:
128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1
By turning these switches on or off, we can light up any number of bulbs between 0 and 255!
Binary is read from right to left, so always remember that the column on the right is the “ones” column.
9 is 8 + 1, so this is represented in binary as 1001
19 is 16 + 2 + 1, so it is 10011
77 is 64 + 8 + 4 + 1, or 1001101
And 42? It’s 32+ 8 + 2, or 101010.
Here are the standard “translations” of what number each of the 13 “binary days” remaining in this century represent:
10-11-10 = 46
11-01-10 = 54
11-10-10 = 58
11-11-10 = 62
01-01-11 = 23
01-10-11 = 27
01-11-11 = 31
10-01-11 = 39
10-10-11 = 43
10-11-11 = 47
11-01-11 = 55
11-10-11 = 59
11-11-11 = 63
See you next Binary Day, and thanks for all the Fish!
How did you celebrate Binary Day?