### uber basics /very offtopic/

Posted:

**Sat Apr 16, 2005 3:19 pm**This isn't really about Linux, but it is about computers and smart people, which ought to be this website's subtitle.

Last night, I laid awake for hours, wondering how a computer can take the expression "49 - 7" and come up with 42. Subtraction is pretty basic, but it makes contextual sense - if I have 49 oranges and eat 7 of them, well, there you go. But a computer is not able to grasp such a concept. Being that it is nothing more than electrons moving through some sophisticated conductors, after all.

If somebody would be kind enough to explain how electronics can decide that 110001 minus 111 equals 101010, that would be great. Off-forum, if necessary.

Last night, I laid awake for hours, wondering how a computer can take the expression "49 - 7" and come up with 42. Subtraction is pretty basic, but it makes contextual sense - if I have 49 oranges and eat 7 of them, well, there you go. But a computer is not able to grasp such a concept. Being that it is nothing more than electrons moving through some sophisticated conductors, after all.

If somebody would be kind enough to explain how electronics can decide that 110001 minus 111 equals 101010, that would be great. Off-forum, if necessary.