Two Bits

November 03, 2008 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Politics, USA 207 views

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What do you think of when you see the words “two bits”? Is that 25¢ or half of a nibble? To me, a computer geek in the early 21st century (no quantum computing yet), two bits means the latter: half a nibble, a quarter of a byte. Two binary values, 0 or 1. Combined possible values: 00, 01, 10, or 11. Information.

Two important bits of information are scheduled to become known this week, and I’m so anxious to know the outcome of both. One could affect billions of people and be the primary event from this half century that 23rd century school kids learn about. The other might, too, but I’m not going to set the bar that high. One is, in theory, not yet decided and could go either way. And the other, depending on your interpretation of knowledge and the universe, is already decided and waiting to be observed.

I am, of course, referring to the US Presidential election and the sex of my first child. I only have a preference for one of the two bits. Feel free to prognosticate in the comments.

  • Just when I read the title, I thought “two bits -> of something sweet”. 🙂 Can you call it one-track mind? 🙂 Or am I just getting over the Halloween sweets and right into the Christmas eating mood?

  • …or rather eating mode. 🙂 🙂

  • “FIRST child”? I think you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself.

    I always thought of myself as the don’t-want-to-know type until it came down to it, and then I couldn’t believe that I’d ever thought I wouldn’t want to know. Then when we finally gave the doctor the go-ahead the kid was coy and wouldn’t give the ultrasound wand a decent crotch-shot for the longest time. Ultimately we did find out before the little monster emerged. It helps, I think, in the getting used to The Idea as it hurtles closer.

    I too am filled with anticipation of finding out that one particular piece of information. The other one won’t affect me so much.

  • “FIRST child”? I think youÂ’re getting a bit ahead of yourself.

    That was just for all the newcomers arriving on this post from googling “presidential nibble shave quantum Schrí¶dinger sex” that might not be privy to my current childless status.

    According to my parents, the second question people ask in the US when they hear of a pregnancy is, “Are you going to find out the sex?” In Spain, it would never occur to anyone to not find that out as soon as scientifically possible. Weird, that.

    As Lady Smattery’s cousin says, “It’s a surprise no matter when you find out.” It seems to me that the actual birth is when you feel the least in control of the situation, so why would you specifically save a surprise for that moment? It seems like a no-brainer to me. Not to mention the pronoun (and nouns and adjectives in Spanish) disambiguation. We’ve been using “he”, as proper Spanish and English dictates, but it will be nice to be able to use el niño or la niña.

  • aquariumdrinker

    @sgazzetti, you object, good sir, only to what you infer from the comments of the gentleman from Colindres. Obviously, the child may well be his first, last and only. Or perhaps you refer to the uncertainty with which any man of normal appetites must live regarding the existence of hitherto unknown “first” children, though of course I do not impute to you any intent to cast aspersions upon the gentleman’s scruples with regard to the conduct of his relations with the fairer sex.

    @Erik, Roger and Cathi didn’t find out their son’s gender until he was born, and I believe that they intend to follow the same course with future pregnancies. It seems like madness to me. I am sure that we are all faced with many opportunities to harmlessly remain willfully ignorant of some fact in order to be surprised by its revelation at a future time. Why would someone who passes up such opportunities as a matter of course (as I believe most of us do most of the time) decide that a fact about a new family member should be artificially made into a surprise?

    To be clear, I don’t see any harm in it. It just seems a little crazy. It seems crazy that someone who wouldn’t normally close their eyes and randomly press a button on a Coke machine (even if they liked all the flavors on offer) would ask medical professionals to keep certain facts a secret from them in order to create a surprise.

  • aquariumdrinker

    I composed my comment in fits and starts over a half hour or so, beginning when sgazzetti’s was the most recent. The point about it being a surprise whenever you find out is a fine one. With the gentleman’s leave, I would like to revise and extend my remarks to reflect this concept including, without limitation, changing references to “creating” a surprise (or the like) to reflect the preservation, or suspension, of a surprise.

  • I can’t wait to find out the result of both of these bits. My own jellybean jar of wisdom tells me that you’re also having a girl. As for the other thing, I’m afraid to make a prediction because I feel a wee bit superstitious in spite of myself.