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Alex Baer: Much Ado About Something, Like Zero

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 zeroNothingness is not a void:  It is something on its own, and something all its own, too. Feel as though you've fallen down a philosophical rabbit hole?  You're in good company.

Perhaps this question will help shed some light on the matter:  Is Zero an odd or even number?  (Most people require a bit to work this one out.  Go ahead -- take your time and puzzle it out, herding your arguments both for and against...)

OK, ready?  Zero is an even number.

It takes people much longer to work out if Zero is odd or even than, say, 13 or 40.  Zero simply doesn't show up on either of our mental lists, as we sing-songed our way through them as kids: Two, four, six, eight... Or: One, three, five, seven...

But why, exactly, is Zero an even number?  There are a few proofs and various ways of looking at it.  Maybe you defaulted to a sort of positional logic, as I did.  Zero is flanked by odd numbers -- one and negative one -- so, it stood to reason that Zero should be an even number.  As it turns out, that's one of the tests.

Another is whether it can be divided evenly (pardon the pun) by two, and give a whole number -- one with no fractions.  Zero passes this test, too:  If you chop Zero in half, you get Zero, which is a whole number without any remainders in tow.

If it makes you feel any better, it took mathematicians a while to agree on Zero's evenness.  It's easy to see how this may have been so.  After all, philosophers argued, and more than a few mathematicians, too:  How could there be an odd nothing... or an even one, as far as that goes?


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