At a base level, every computer’s just a really big, complicated calculator. But thanks to the way its intrinsic circuitry works – with lots of little logic gates that are either ‘on’ or ‘off’ – every action that takes place at a base level is happening in binary, where things are either a 1 or a 0, with no shades of grey in between. This actually translates up to a neat bit of programming trivia – in the computer science world, all counting (with the rather notable exceptions of Fortran and Visual Basic) starts at zero, not one. It actually makes a lot more sense – ever thought about why the 20th century refers to the 1900s? It’s because when historians decided on the dating system, they weren’t clever enough to call the very first century (0-99AD) the 0th century. If they had, we’d probably have far fewer confused school children the world over.
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