Like any good geek, I would be remiss if I did not point out that today is my 2^5
birthday. For all nongeeks out there, let me explain…
Everything about computer software boils down to a 1
or a 0
.
This is because every program, every image, every document and every funny cat gif is really written on your harddrive as millions
(nay, billions (nay, trillions)) of 1
s and 0
s.
There are many different levels of code that read these 1
s and 0
s and are able to display them to you in a humanreadable form,
or execute them as special logic that tells the computer how to run a program.
This representation of data on your disk (1
s and 0
s) is called binary code,
and generally looks a bit like this:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 

This long block of binary code, when interpreted as ASCII text, reads:
Each section of 8 numbers corresponds to a single letter or punctuation mark.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
So how does all of this binary code business relate to my 32nd birthday?
Well, each 1
or 0
in a binary code sequence is 1 bit.
8 bits make a byte, and 4 bytes make up a 32bit sequence.
Most computers understand code, numbers and information in 32bit sequences
(many modern computers use 64bit, but we will ignore that for now).
Thus, 32 is a nice round number when talking about computers.
To computer geeks, 32 has the same “roundnumber” feel that 100 has to nongeeks.
It is the number that makes things whole, the number that allows anything to be possible.
It is also a perfect power of 2, that is, 2 raised to the fifth, or 2^5 = 32
.
This is significant as well when talking about binary code. The same code above could be
interpreted as binary numbers instead of ASCII text. Lets look at the first byte.
1


In an 8bit world, this number is interpreted as 76
1


You wouldn’t necessarily call it a clean number, as the visual representation of it has a ton of variance.
What would be considered a clean number are nicer looking, like
11111111 (255)
, 00000000 (0)
and 10000000 (128)
.
32 is one of these nice looking numbers.
1


Along with 1, 2, 4, 16, 64, 128 and 256, 32 is a perfect power of 2 (2^5
),
which also makes it a special number in geek speak — but more broadly, math speak.
So, as a geek, today is a special day as it is the day my age turns 00100000
, 2^5
or simply “32”.