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"Zero" Not Just Number

Written By Sambasivarao on Monday, September 17, 2012 | Monday, September 17, 2012


Where would we be if the zero was not invented? No calculus, no accounting, no computers, no maths nerds scratching their heads silly trying to crack a theorem...Around 650 AD Brahmagupta was the first to use the zero. The Arab mathematicians latched on to it and then it moved to Italy. By the 1600s it was integrated into the European universe.

Zero Sum Game

A game theory concept, "zero sum game" is frequently used in discussions related to business and strategy. What it means is that in a two-player game, what one gains is equal to what the other loses. Tally the gains and losses and the result will be zero. Options and futures contracts are zero sum games.

Zero Gravity

It means absence of gravity but that is not really true. There is gravity everywhere in the universe, otherwise planets and satellites would just fly off. A spaceship is falling towards the Earth, but this is counteracted by its movement forward. Like the craft, the crew inside the craft is also falling (similar to sky diving) and thus the floating inside the craft.

Ground Zero

Post-September 11 attacks, Ground Zero is the area where the World Trade Center stood. Rebuilding the site is in progress and will include offices, a memorial and museum among other buildings. However, the term originally meant the epicentre of a calamity — this would include sites in Hiroshima and Nagasaki where A-bombs were dropped.

Project Zero

Started in 1967, Project Zero is a research group at Harvard University and was founded by philosopher Nelson Goodman. The focus of research is education — across all ages and disciplines. Studies have been conducted in subjects as diverse as use of computers as teaching machines to investigating figurative language skills among children.

Zero Hour

A parliamentary term, though it was coined by the media in the 1960s. It usually starts at around noon, after Question Hour, and is the period when MPs can ask unlisted questions. The US gurudwara killings, Bofors, friction between Indian army officers and jawans have all been raised during Zero Hour.


Situated bang in the middle of the most amazing scenery, Ziro is surrounded by greenery. Home to the Apatani people, the town is famous for rearing fish in paddy fields. It is at the centre of various festivals, including a music one, Dree, Murung and Myoko. Hills, pine forests, rivers... Ziro is an ecological hotspot and lies 150 km east of Itanagar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh.

Absolute Zero

A thermodynamic concept measured in the Kelvin scale that corresponds to -273.15C or -459.67F. How cold or hot an object is depends upon how fast its molecules and atoms are moving — the faster the movement, the hotter the object. According to the laws of thermodynamics, all oscillations can come to a stop at a particular temperature — and that point is called Absolute Zero.

Zero /Limit Zero

The quartet from Dadar was considered by many to be the Indian rock band in the 2000s. Pity the Bombay boys split after only three albums. The one-album-old Limit Zero is one of the most exciting metal bands from Bangalore.

Year Zero/Love Minus Zero

Nine Inch Nails' fifth studio album Year Zero is a rather dystopian view of the future. Listen to it as NIN continues to be an important contemporary voice. "Love Minus Zero", one of Bob Dylan finest, is from the album Bringing It All Back Home. Full of allusions, this love song like so many others is as enigmatic as it gets.

Size Zero

Think Kareena Kapoor, Keira Knightley, Rihanna...the trend among celebrities to become reed thin. It started sometime in mid-2000s when skinny models became a common sight on catwalks. The term originates from the clothing size, which a woman with a 30-22-32 inch figure can fit into.

Zero Dark Thirty

Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow's thriller, Zero Dark Thirty is a film on the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The $30-mn film is likely to be released in December this year. But the trailer, released last month, has come under flak from Republicans, who described it as a propaganda film for Obama.

Zero Motorcycles

An American manufacturer of electric motorcycles, Zero is famous for its dirt and dual sportsbikes. Last month motorcycle.com awarded Zero the silver medal in the e-bikes category.


A character from the video game series, he is one of the earliest to appear in Mortal Kombat. There are actually two incarnations, both brothers. Well versed in shotokan, Sub-Zero is a stern man, always willing to help the main heroes in the series.

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