Our love affair with mathematics is practically ingrained, as even the ancients created methods to calculate taxes. Sigh.
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Fortunately, we invented computers, so not only can we calculate our income at the speed of light (or airwaves, radio waves, whatever), we can also spend it even quicker, without taking our shoes off to add up our purchases! Wow – sure beats the ol’ quipu …
quipu (kēʹpōō, kwipʹōō) n.: a device consisting of an arrangement of cords variously colored and knotted, used by the ancient Peruvians to keep accounts, record events, etc. [WW #52]
And you thought everyone was raised on the abacus. While it apparently came first, the quipu is no slouch, confounding and irritating the conquistadors (mid-1500s) as they attempted to convert, then annihilate the Peruvians.
The Inca society put the quipus to use for everything from simple math, to recording labor projects, and the census, during their rise between the 12th and 13th centuries. “The cords contained numeric and other values encoded by knots in a base ten positional system. A quipu could have only a few or up to 2,000 cords.”
So when you visit your tax consultant ask to borrow her quipu to determine the amount of the refund of hard-earned dollars you “saved” in the government’s annual, mandatory, non-interest bearing account. And then hope you receive it, instead of a low-life black hat hacker. (P.S.: File for your refund ASAP. That way you get to it first!)
Word of the Week: QUIPU. Can you fit it into your next writing?
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