Rumble Box: X vs O

Rumble Box: X vs O

Each week, our highly trained team uses intellect to crack the biggest issues facing humanity today … and also this

Lucy Christie
There's no question that X is better than O. For starters, every pirate worth his salt knows that X marks the spot. No treasure maps ever have O marks. That would just be plain silly. X is just so much more definite. An O could mean you're circling something, or you're trying to narrow down the spot where something is. But it's not very specific. X means right there, where the two lines meet, that's exactly where it's supposed to be. Nothing is more assertive than an X.

Some might argue that in alphabetical terms, X is pretty obscure. I prefer the term unique. It's not in many words, but that means when you come across it, it really stands out. Think Professor X in X-Men. Actually, all of the X-Men for that matter. They aren't called F-Men or U-Men or O-Men. X-Men just has a much better ring to it. It sounds cool. That's probably why superheroes have x-ray vision, and they all own Xboxes.

X is also universal. It can signal the wrong answer, the right answer, or that a room or object is dangerous. A bottle of bleach, for example, has a huge X on it to signal danger. It's an international symbol that doesn't need a translation - everyone knows what it means.

If we really had to give a numerical value to individual letters in some sort of points system, X would be worth far more than O precisely because it is so rare. In fact, game makers have done just that. It's called Scrabble. If you have an X, you've got a guaranteed eight points. An O is worth 1. In the wise words of hip hop artist DMX, X Gon' Give It To Ya. O just can't compete.


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Sam Gusway
First, let me just say that I've got nothing against X. A little mysterious, and a little naughty, X is fun! But O is what it's all about. It's the people's letter - maybe because it's round, like the Earth.

While X is all smoochy and romantic, O is more of a sign of universal love. You can hug your bros without things getting too awkward. Speaking of universal, O is also the blood type of the universal donor. No matter who you are or where you're from, if you're in an accident and need help, an O might come to your rescue.

X is forbidding, telling you where you cannot go, but O brings people together. Just think of all the communication you can do with that letter! In pain? O!!! Just remembered something? O! Pleasantly surprised by something? Oooooo! O says exactly how you're feeling - whether you speak the language or not.

O is very specific that way. That's why it's also responsible for the greatest innovation in the history of mathematics. Yup, I'm talking about 0, O's skinnier cousin. While X can mean just about anything in maths, O really only means one thing - or rather, no thing, nothing. As soon as O came along, humans started achieving some pretty big things.

It's still changing our world today. The entire internet as we know it - all those pictures, cat videos, and of course awesome yp.scmp.com articles - is made up of 1s and 0s. That means Os make up pretty much half of the online universe.

And if all that isn't enough to make you realise the power of O, let me ask you this: would you like to live in a world without doughnuts? I thought naught.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
This week's rumble: X vs O

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