Wednesday, October 24, 2012 by Peter Danckwerts
Broke, mired in recession and on the verge of depression (mental and financial), many of us need a pick-me-up. After much ratiocination, I have, if I may put modesty aside for one brief moment, discovered the solution to Britain's, and possibly the world's, problems.
Those Britons who were, say, five or over in 1971, will remember the £ s d (libri, solidi and denarii) of the predecimal world. Other benighted nations had succumbed to the dubious charms of decimalisation before us. When there were twelve pence to the shilling and twenty shillings to the pound, when professionals were paid in guineas, when I could buy 2 sweets for a farthing (a nine-hundred-and-sixtieth of a pound), when there were strange threepenny bits depicting thrift plants and (before my time) groats were three to the shilling, I am not suggesting that all well with the world. But (and this is a very big but) children could count, do simple mental arithmetic and knew their twelve times tables.
It is, I conceded, impossible that the political and bureaucratic classes would ever admit their folly and, consequently, there is no great likelihood that we shall ever return to the old currency.
Fortunately, there is an alternative which is forward-thinking and fully in-tune with the digital age - hexadecimal currency! With 16 new pence to the new shilling and sixteen new shillings to the new pound, we would now have 256 pence to the pound, only 16 pence (one new shilling) more to the pound than our old £ s d.
The great advantage of hexadecimal currency would be that it would bring more colour into our lives. As most of my readers wil know, colours on the internet are commonly defined by hexadecimal notation, prefixed by a hash sigh: #. By strange coincidence, our foolish American cousins, who haven't been quite the same since 1776, sometimes refer to the hash symbol as a pound sign and (on my UK Mac keyboard, at least) the hash symbol is accessed by holding down the alt key and hitting the 3 key (which, when you hold down the shift key instead, gives you £). It therefore seems pre-ordained that our once-great currency should be reborn in hexadecimal form.
What exactly do I mean by hexadecimal currency bringing more colour into our lives? Simple! All sums of money could be represent by hexadecimal colours. Your bank statements, prices in the shops, the national debt could all be turned into colourful representations, a little like medal ribbons on war heros.
Here are some examples:
One obvious problem is that d stands for 13 in hexadecimal, so I have adopted the loathed p symbol for pence, but perhaps the Old English letter eth, ð,would be more appropriate.
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