This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Friday, 17 February 2017

Word To Use Today: cubit/qubit.

Ah, so that's how Noah got all the animals into the ark.

The thing is, the ark was three hundred cubits by fifty by thirty, right? And a cubit is the distance from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger, which in my case is about seventeen and a half inches, or forty four and a half centimetres in your money. So therefore the ark was about one hundred and thirty three metres long, or roughly half the size of the Titanic.

File:Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat by Simon de Myle.jpg
painting by Simone de Myle

Now, that clearly isn't big enough to get all the animals in, especially fourteen at a time (read the original!) but how about if those measurements weren't in cubits, but in qubits?

A qubit is...well, an ordinary bit is the basic unit of computering, and consists of a switch that can be on or off. (This is usually written down as 1 or 0, but is really more of a true or false sort of a thing.)

qubit is more or less the same as a bit, except that it works on a quantum level (it's all right, no one really understands about quantum levels: just accept that it works, okay?). The difference between a bit and a qubit is that instead of being either on or off, it's both on and off at the same time.

Well, I said that no one really understands it.

Anyway, back to Noah: could a confusion between a cubit and a qubit help with the animals-fitting-in-the-ark thing?

Um...

...anyone?

...

Word To Use Today: qubit/cubit. Cubit comes from the Latin cubitum, which means elbow. The concept of the qubit was introduced by Stephen Wiesner in 1983, but the word was probably coined by Benjamin Schumacher in 1995 - and, yes, calling it a qubit was basically a joke.


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