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About the Abacus
The first abacus was almost certainly based on a flat stone covered
with sand or dust. Words and letters were drawn in the sand; eventually
numbers were added and pebbles used to aid calculations.
The Babylonians used this dust abacus as early as 2400 BC. Though
China played an essential part in the development and evolution of the
abacus, the origin of the counter abacus with strings is obscure, but
India, Mesopotamia or Egypt are seen as probable points of origin.
The use of the word abacus dates from before 1387, when a Middle
English work borrowed the word from Latin to describe a sandboard
abacus. The Latin word came from abakos, the Greek genitive form of abax
("calculating-table"). Because abax also had the sense of "table
sprinkled with sand or dust, used for drawing geometric figures", some
linguists speculate that the Greek word may be derived from a Semitic
root (cf. Phoenician abak, "sand", Hebrew ābāq (pronounced "a-vak"),
This abacus has six rods, each divided into two sections, the smaller
having a single bead (called “heaven bead(s)”) and the larger having
four (called “earth beads”). The crossbar separates the two sections.
The earth beads represent a value of one each, the heaven bead
represents a value of five. Beads touching the crossbar are counted, the
others, not (corollary: zero is shown when no beads are touching the
crossbar). Hence each rod can show a value of 0-9. This enables
calculations of whole numbers up to 999,999 (or fractions to up to six
decimal places in accuracy).
Using the Abacus
To begin, hold the frame vertically then return to the horizontal
(moving all beads to the bottom of their respective sections – the
abacus should now show 0).
To do an addition (e.g. 14+5), set the abacus to the first number (so
rightmost rod has only 4x1 beads up and the 2nd to right rod has only
1x1 beads up – abacus now shows 14).
Then add the second number (one digit at a time starting with the
least significant first). Just one heaven bead to be moved results in
abacus showing 19.
There are many other, additional techniques that can be used to
For the Log
Calculate and record the result of adding the longitude and latitude
of the geocache where you found this Travel Bug.
Travel Bugs need maintenance from time to time (as do we all?!). If this one looks in need (or if you would like to know how to make your own
capsule), please take a look at the Faber Optimé Travel Bug Maintenance Manual.
A PDF file of the custom stash note for this travel bug can be obtained here.
About Faber Optimé
We aim to deliver excellence, in all of our
activities - such as bringing to you curious, interesting and
innovative geocaches and geocache items, like this one.
Keep your eyes peeled for more of the Faber Optimé
We're always happy to help fellow geocachers! Please do feel free to get in touch with us on
the following contact details.