We've been getting so many great questions through the Question Machine! Phew! You're really interested in a lot of things. We thought we'd group some of the questions together and answer them in a big bunch. So here are your questions about... math!
What we think of as "numbers" are actually three different things: numbers, numerals and digits. So what's the difference between the three? A number is a count or measurement that you can picture in your head, a numeral is a symbol or the name you call that number and a digit is each symbol in that numeral. Let's work this out and make it clearer:
Don't worry if you mix up your numerals and numbers since most people use the word "number" for digits and numerals as well.
So how can zero be two different things? Zero is a placeholder because it's used in numbers to show an absence of something: in the number 405, the number zero is used to show us that there are no tens in the number. You can tack on zeros to the end of a digit to show it getting bigger: 200 is bigger than 20 which is bigger than 2. But zero is also a number and you can add, subtract and multiply by it (just don't try to divide by it). Zero, the number, also sits comfortably between +1 and -1 on the numerical scale.
In math, division is about splitting something up into equal parts. For example, you have 12 pieces of chocolate and you want to split the chocolate up among you and two other friends — 12 pieces divided by 3 people equals 4 pieces for each person. But, the number zero means that you have none of something. So how do you split no chocolate with no friends?
Of course, that would be 216 hours with perfect traffic, no stops for snacks or naps and using the route designated as optimal by Google Maps. Plus, you'd probably need some time at the border to explain to Canada Customs why you're walking such a long distance.