Friday, January 29, 2016

The Kai'us Numbering System

(Sorry for the crazy formatting, not quite sure why it's coming out that way...)

For those who don't know (which would be everyone except maybe one or two of you) the Kai'us numbering system has given me heartburn for years (approaching decades really). You'd think it'd be easy: Kai'us' have four digits on each hand (three fingers and a thumb), so it's always made sense that their numbers would be based on fours and eights instead of our fives and tens.

Wanting to make my life as easy as possible I decided to give them just four numbers: meu, leu, deu & sheu
Written as such:
/ = meu (1)
// = leu (2)
/// = deu (3)
//// = sheu (4)
Not too complicated.

Wanna go past that? Add a dot after the character:
/• = meu'ah (5)
//• = leu'ah (6)
///• = deu'ah (7)
////• = sheu'ah (8)

9-12 have the dot (and the "ah" sound) in front, and 13-16 have a dot in both the front and end of the character (so 16 would be •////• "ah'sheu'ah")

All of that's been the same since college.
Easy-peasy; but what to do from there?
Add prefixes!!

This is where things get flaky 'cause I can do anything from this point (and I have). 
The pattern for the first sixteen numbers was always set to repeat but with lines added to the tops and/or bottoms of the numbers; I just never devised a good system that was easy for me to remember. Also what to call those prefixes proved difficult as I always came up with just random labels that I'd never remember.
Finally though, I came up with a method for identifying and writing out the remaining numbers that I think will actually stick in my brain and make my life easier.
(Keep in mind that these numbers hardly ever show up in the stories, I've just always felt it important to understand thoroughly and completely how Kai-us' handle numbers and math.)
After the first set of sixteen numbers you're going to add a line along the top, and the syllable "Lee" to the beginning of the number.

Yeah, 30 gets to be a mouthful, but this is much higher than most Kai'us' can count. Most only need to get up to sixteen in their day-to-day life; after that there's nouns that translate to things like "many" and "many-many" that change in quantity depending on the context and what you're "counting".
33-48 are going to do the same thing, but the line will be along the bottom. 
The prefix for that set is "Du".
The "final" set (49-64) will have a slash going up from the bottom connecting with the first slash of the actual number:

 The prefix is called "Sha"

So 64 would be "ah'sha'sheu'ah" (sounds like a dance) and it would look like this:

The dot can go inside the triangle if you so choose.

The beauty of all this is the naming convention.
The first set of 16 numbers has no prefix.
The second set has the syllable "Lee", as in "leu", as in the number 2 ("Lee" is also a prefix that goes before a noun to make it plural).
The third set uses "Du"; "deu"; 3. Also "u" is the next vowel in all the base numbers.
Fourth set is "Sha"; "sheu"; 4. The "ah" sound is the next vowel to arrive in the number system.

So nicely and simply we've gotten 64 numbers all named and labeled in a way that I'm sure to remember.
Let's keep going.

The next set of 64 numbers will all be named the same, but will have "O" in the beginning.
"O-" in the Kai'us language is a prefix to denote that something is holy, divine or really big.
As far as Kai'us society goes, we're talking really big numbers now.

The written prefix for the numbers 65-80 is two lines pointing outward, one at the top and one at the bottom. It's more or less a closing bracket ( ] ). So 65 is pronounced "o'meu".
The highest number before this prefix changes is •]|||• and is "ah'o'sheu'ah" (80)
You can also put the "o" in front if you like. 
Doing this starts to sound like "wa" so this set can also be pronounced that way as well once the "ah"s start to get involved.

Set number two (81-96) will have a line coming off the top of the first slash pointing outward (rather like a 7). The Prefix is "o'lee"
The third set (97-112) has the line coming off the bottom. "O'du"
The fourth set is an upside-down "sha" (a "V" in other words) and so is "o'sha". 
This gets us up to 128.

From here you can stop.
Even the Grand Chief rarely needs to count much higher than that.

If for some wild and crazy reason though you need yet another set of sixteen numbers, you're in luck.
129-144 is denoted with a line at the top and a line at the bottom pointing inward (like an opening bracket [ only longer).
This prefix is called "o'shee".

This is going to be a source of humor for those who know the name of my first WoW character which was "Oshemeu". Using pigeon Kai'us this translates to "Great One". "O-" for really big or divine; "she" is the word for "big"; and "meu" is obviously "one".
(Using correct grammar though the name "Great One" would come out as "Mu-o-she" - "One who is Great"; but that doesn't roll off the tongue quite as nicely)
Taking this new system into account though, "o'shee'meu" is the number 129.

The interesting thing is this loops around nicely.
Remove those lines and suddenly you're back to the beginning. If you need specific numbers past that you'll just have to start adding numbers together.
The general rule is to start with the highest number that's divisible by 16 (which would be 128 or 144 typically) and add the number that gets you the rest of the way; but a person is welcome to get creative and mash together whatever two numbers will get you there based on their aesthetics.

Two hundred for instance could be broken down in many ways, but would likely be conveyed as "ah'o'she'sheu'ah esh sha'sheu'ah" which translates to "144 and 56".

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Name That Precipitation (Weather-related)

We're into that time of year where I'll overhear someone say, "Wow, it was hailing really hard last night!" and I'll mentally note that there were no thunderstorms in the area and it's really the wrong time of year for thunderstorms anyway.  Then I'll realize they're talking about sleet.  Totally different.

I'm rather saddened at how few people seem to know the difference between hail, sleet and freezing rain.  I do understand why it may be hard to keep them straight: all three are forms of precipitation that involve rain and ice, but all three are very unique and occur under very specific conditions. 

What saddens me more is that meteorologists - rather than educating the masses - are dumbing down their terminology.  Intellicast no longer uses the word "sleet" in its forecasts.  They now use the term "ice pellets".  Though this is indeed an accurate description of sleet, it does have a name and it's called "sleet".

So, what is the difference between the three?
Glad you asked for I'm here to answer!

Conditions - Typically warmer weather; more specifically during thunderstorms.

How's it made - Inside cumulonimbus clouds (the type that produce thunderstorms).
Hail starts as rain or small ice pellets that get kicked around within the towering cloud by wind.
The proto-hail gets thrown high up into the cloud where the air is colder and a layer of ice forms around it.  When it gets too heavy for the winds to hold it aloft it falls to a lower portion of the cloud just to get tossed up again for another coating of ice.
Once it's too heavy for a repeat trip upwards, it falls to the earth as an uneven blob of ice.

Hail can damage crops, vehicles, and structures.  Large hail can hurt people too.

A hail fall doesn't typically last too long and the hail itself tends to melt quickly as it usually occurs in the spring and summer months when the ground temperatures are rather warm.

Hail is an indication of severe weather and its presence can herald a tornado or intense thunderstorm.

Conditions - When surface air temperatures temperatures are below freezing, but temperatures aloft (in the clouds) are above freezing. 

How's it made - Sleet starts life in the clouds as rain.  As it falls to the earth it freezes into little ice pellets.  Unlike hail - which looks globular in nature and can be any size, sleet is evenly shaped and small (because it's just rain that turned to ice).

Sleet can fall with just as much intensity as rain and for as long as the temperatures are favorable for it to remain ice.  Sleet though can easily switch over to snow (if the air gets cold enough), or rain/freezing rain (if the air gets warmer).

Freezing Rain
Conditions - When the surface air temperatures are above freezing, but the ground and surfaces touching the ground are below freezing.

How's it made - Freezing rain is liquid rain that...well, freezes as soon as it hits something.
This forms a smooth, even coating of ice on trees, cars, the ground, anything it lands on because those surfaces are colder than the air that's just warm enough to keep it liquid.

This ice build-up can bring down power lines or cause tree limbs to fall across power lines, causing power outages.  The smooth ice can also accumulate on roads making travel difficult.

So those are the three types of frozen precipitation that tend to get mixed up or used interchangeably.
Hopefully this guide will help you keep them straight so that you too can use the correct descriptions for what's falling from the sky.