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Singapore Math

Monday, September 25, 2023

How to Celebrate Zero Day

Zero causes so much pain and suffering to tens of millions of students and their parents every day. Indeed, zero is the real troublemaker among the numbers! It's not too late to get even with the Roman Catholic Church’s once-deemed blasphemous infidel number (again).

Below are ten idiot-proof activities you’d do to celebrate Zero Day.

10. Avoid writing the now-redundant zero before a decimal point: .23, .583, .0045, …—move away from dated deception, faux religion, or numerological superstition.

9. Use the letter “o” or “O” when you mean the number or numeral “0”—for example, when giving a bank account or ID number to someone requesting it on the phone for verification purposes.

8. Use “nothing” to half-truthfully convey the idea of zero, even though the number zero is “anything but nothing.”

7. Fight for the Year Zero to be included in the timeline, to avoid confusing billions of people that the year 2023 is conventionally in the 21st century rather than in the 20th century.

6. Canvass for the number zero instead of the number one to be the first number in the set of whole numbers, especially in some puritan or radical circles, where the devil number is excluded.

5. Mobilize semi- or quasi-innumerate folks to use a different numeral when zero is used as a place number and as a number itself—strip zero of its double personality. For instance, use Ø in lieu of 0: 3Ø14Ø to emphasize place-value.

4. Be a zerobreaker, by defying the eleventh commandment, Thou shalt not divide by zero! without life-threatening consequences—that one has the (civil or political or religious) rights to divide by zero, although the answer may prove insensible or unreasonable.

3. Puncture the egos of haughty geeks who think they know it all, by exposing mathematical loopholes in their reasoning, resulting from illegally (or unknowingly) dividing by zero—humble them with fallacies and paradoxes, such as 1 = 0 or π = 3.

2. Have a law that fines companies from offering 0% interest rate as a gimmick to lure gullible customers.

1. Warn people to flee from the free—beware of free gifts, free seminars, and free air tickets, which seldom have zero strings attached.

Now is the time to teach Zero who’s in charge here—zero is your servant, not your master.

Nøtøriøuly yours

© Yan Kow Cheong, September 25, 2023.