Binary Birthday Candles

A lit candle is an “on” signal giving the meaning “1”. A “0” is the only other meaning that the first space can have in a number sequence of computer code.

A one year old gets a simple “1”. A two year old needs to add a space to give more information about the second space while keeping the first space information as a “0”. So a 2 in binary is “01” because the code behind the second spot is known by the computer as having a count of 2. A three year old is “11” because the computer sees both the 1 and 2 as on. The signal means 1 plus the 2 that the computer sees behind the second space.

Each space doubles the hidden count of the space before. The hidden meaning behind each space then is “1” “2” “4” “8”. To celebrate a fifteen year old would be all candles on and read 11111 or to us a 1+2+4+8. A fourteen year old would be 01111. For the old folks, just keep doubling and moving out a space. Binary birthdays let everyone celebrate without burning the house down

Birthdays with That Science Fairy

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