Weird News When Math Discoveries Led to Banned Numbers

07:35  02 october  2017
07:35  02 october  2017 Source:   Mental Floss

Amazon’s Echo devices can now call mobile numbers and landlines for free

  Amazon’s Echo devices can now call mobile numbers and landlines for free In case you missed the announcement during Amazon’s very busy hardware event earlier this week, the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show have all gained the ability to place voice calls to numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for free. But this is still a nice upgrade from the original version of Alexa calling that Amazon rolled out, which only let you call other Echo owners or people with the Alexa app installed and set up on their smartphone. Now you can just tell your Echo to call anyone in your contacts or speak out a specific number to dial.

In its new video, TED-Ed rounds up the numbers that caused such a stir when they were introduced that they were banned in math circles. The Arabic way of counting also led to the rise of negative numbers , which were regarded with disdain by many experts into the 19th century.

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The literature world has seen more than its share of controversy. The best stories tend to provoke the strongest reactions—both positive and negative—in readers, which is why so many classic books have been banned at one point or another. But even a more objective field like math isn’t immune to conflict. In its new video, TED-Ed rounds up the numbers that caused such a stir when they were introduced that they were banned in math circles.

Amazon’s Echo devices can now call mobile numbers and landlines for free

  Amazon’s Echo devices can now call mobile numbers and landlines for free In case you missed the announcement during Amazon’s very busy hardware event earlier this week, the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show have all gained the ability to place voice calls to numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for free. But this is still a nice upgrade from the original version of Alexa calling that Amazon rolled out, which only let you call other Echo owners or people with the Alexa app installed and set up on their smartphone. Now you can just tell your Echo to call anyone in your contacts or speak out a specific number to dial.

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One of the earliest examples comes from ancient Greece. A mathematician named Hippasus was having trouble solving certain equations with fractions and whole numbers alone, so he came up with irrational numbers to make these values easier to express. The ruling school of thought at the time dictated that everything in nature could be explained elegantly with the numbers that already existed. Threatened by Hippasus’s new notion, his fellow mathematicians rejected the irrational numbers and had him exiled.

When Math Discoveries Led to Banned Numbers © iStock When Math Discoveries Led to Banned Numbers

Other numbers have been banned for legal reasons. When Arab traders brought their positional number system, which included zero, to Italy in the Middle Ages, Florence banned it from record-keeping fearing that they would be easier to forge than Roman numerals. The Arabic way of counting also led to the rise of negative numbers, which were regarded with disdain by many experts into the 19th century. For more banned numbers, including some that are prohibited today, check out the full story below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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