Our new digitacious life!

Maswood Alam Khan
The English language is notoriously swift and at times a little impish in adopting new words to adapt to the changing world. ‘Daycation’ is a new English word meaning a short vacation which lasts only one day; so is ‘Burquini’, a blend of ‘burqa’ and ‘bikini’, to mean a swimsuit worn by Muslim women which covers the whole body—from the arms to the wrist, from the legs to the ankle and with a hood to cover the hair and neck. Given the present-day life so full of binary tools the adjective “digitacious” may, I am pretty sure, enter the English lexicon very soon as some nerds have already started using this word twisted from the adjective ‘digital’.

Humanity seems to have been poised to enter a digitacious phase that was perhaps not comprehensible even to Charles Darwin when in 1859 he published his works “On the origin of Species” explaining evolution as a gradual change in the inherited traits of living organisms.

Manual typewriters have long been replaced by computers, snail mails have been replaced by E-mails, designing has been made unimaginably easy by computer-aided software, use of paper for archiving documents has been obsolescent with introduction of computer hard discs offering permanent storage facilities and now smoking a cigarette stashed with traditional tobacco has also been out of fashion with the recent introduction of e-smoking that simulates the exact sensation of smoking and gives a chain smoker as much nicotine as he or she wants without having to inhale any cancer causing agents or harmful chemicals.

An e-smoker can now smoke e-cigarettes in any public place—inside an airplane with a non-smoker sitting beside or at home with children playing around.

You never know what is awaiting us in the future! With population on this Earth increasing alarmingly there may be a dire necessity to substitute our traditional food by electronic food. E-food prepared by e-recipes having all the necessary ingredients in synthetic forms and shapes to supply all the fuel essential for running our live body parts may obviate the necessity of our stomach—a funny protrusion in our body that is occupying a precious space as the kitchen.

The binary number system, the real value of which was first conceived in 1854 when the British mathematician George Boole theorized what is now known as “Boolean algebra”, the logical calculus based on which digital electronic circuitry is designed, is fast changing the pattern of living on this planet.

This system, using two symbols, typically 0 for off and 1 for on, what in computer language are called bits, is applied in every gadget we use to make our life easy and smooth. They are used to map the characters and texts we find in our computers but these values and bits are not magical—they are just pure mathematics.

There are some days and occasions when these two digits—0 and 1—dance before our eyes, reminding us how they are shaping our modern life. One such date was on the first day of the Georgian calendar i.e. the first January of the first year (01-01-0001). After two thousand years in the year 2001 on the first day of January (01-01-[20]01) people all over the world smiled as they were putting their signatures with a date using 0 and 1 as 01-01-01. Ten years later on next Sunday, 10 October 2010, people should again be smiling when they would be seeing and using the date: 10-10-10—another day when 0 & 1 are again on a magical display.

Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) in collaboration with Bangladesh Math Olympiad is going to celebrate a binary moment of the current century at the precise moment when the clock in Bangladesh will click 10 Hours 10 Minutes 10 Seconds and the calendar will show the 10th Month (October) of the year 10 (2010). On this momentous day twirling around with the magic of 1 and 0 the organizers have arranged a competition at Curzon Hall of Dhaka University where 10 teams from 10 Universities of Bangladesh will participate to show their talents on binary combination of 0 & 1.

E-mail: maswood@hotmail.com


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