General Question

gailcalled's avatar

So what is negative zero (-0)?

Asked by gailcalled (54584points) April 1st, 2009

Where is finkelitis when I need him?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

18 Answers

flameboi's avatar

-0… Less than nothing????
Point Break 1991
[Walking – Johnny Utah through the FBI office]
Ben Harp: You know nothing. In fact, you know less than nothing. If you knew that you knew nothing, then that would be something, but you don’t.

cwilbur's avatar

The only place I’m aware of it actually being meaningful is in some computer representations of numbers. (This is information I last had to actually deal with over 15 years ago, so I remember the concepts, but not the terminology.)

Basically, one possibility when representing numbers in a computer is to have one bit to indicate whether the number is positive or negative. Under such a system, you could then have positive or negative zero.

(There are a number of issues like this, relating to digital representation of numbers, that crop up in computer science but not in math. In math, for instance, you can be certain that a * (b + c) = a*b + a*c. In computer science, though, depending on rounding errors and representational inaccuracy, you can’t—especially if some of the numbers are very large and some of the numbers are very small.

Kraken's avatar

Double infinity divided by the inverse of negative infinity.

chyna's avatar

@gailcalled Are your questions on the side messed up too? The ones where you have received lurve? I have a negative 3168 points also.

chyna's avatar

Is this April Fools joke?

Jeruba's avatar

Gail, my dear, that is not a minus zero. That is a minus O. It is a literary allusion. It refers to the classic humor tale by E. A. Poe, ‘X-ing a Paragrab.’ Astute readers are aware that in addition to mournful poetry and stories of the macabre, Poe also wrote some rather delicious humor. This particular story was one of the first pieces of literature to make me laugh until I hurt when I was a mere slip of a gel.

If we were t take this admnitin seriusly, we wuld prceed t write ur cmments withut using a certain letter. But tday is April Fl’s Day, s I dubt that we are really sppsed t d that.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

-0 is just like dividing by zero. They both make the world blow up.

By the way, little-known fact: Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

chyna's avatar

Thank you Essieness. Bad Answer. :)

loser's avatar

If you turn of sideways it kinda looks like a cyclops smiling!

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba; Ww. Hw cl. Yu are s riginal. Victr Brge des it with numbers; ie; I nine the sandwich, paginine, fiveswear, aelevention.

Jeruba's avatar

Twoderful! I remember that Borge routine from, my gosh, the 1950s. (Eightaroia even came into it.) One of the all-time greats. The audible punctuation, too.

Thank you for the kind compliment also. There in two little paragraphs you see how I might have fared in academe if I had ever got that Ph.D. and why my career in the business world has not been so smooth.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba; Eightarola is enabling me to get in car and go for dreaded mammogram.

catinthehat's avatar

Zero on a bad day when he forgot to refill his Prozac?

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s when you take any number and divide it by infinity and have negative feelings about it.

NadaNormal's avatar

Ah then you did find my checkbook!!!

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