Cistercian Numerals

When you are an attentive listener, you learn more. My changing social media habits mean I’ve been “doomscrolling” less and engaging more. And the difference in community on federated social media (Mastodon and others) means there is a lot more interesting content coming across my feed, and a lot less drama.

Today I saw something come across my feed that was interesting: Cistercian Numerals. It’s a way to represent numbers as glyphs in such a way that they are easily decipherable. In this method, you can represent any number from 1 to 10,000 easily and with a small amount of space. The downside is it’s not easily actionable – that is, operations are hard to perform on the glyphs. So this would be useful in a case where storage space is at a premium, but the need for computation doesn’t exist.

(Thanks to Jason Kottke for the interesting write up.)