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What's a bit? Intro to Binary

posted Oct 15, 2012, 10:41 PM by Michael Dreyfus-Pai   [ updated Oct 15, 2012, 10:41 PM ]
In this lesson, we'll be introducing binary numbers, bits, and bytes.
Humans use what's called Base 10 arithmetic: we count from 1 to 10, restarting and adding a place value when we run out of fingers.  Computers don't have fingers though.  They have electricity!

An electrical current is either flowing, or not flowing: two states.  This can be represented by either a 1 (on) or a 0 (off).  Using ones and zeros, computers can write every number we use in Base 10.  Numbers that use only 1s and 0s are in Base 2, or binary.