Incomparable abominations

Roy Smith roy at
Mon Mar 24 13:52:00 CET 2003

Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters <mertz at> wrote:
> And yet, both the character/unicode comparisons provide answers, while
> the the complex comparisons raise exceptions.

The difference is that character sets are a tool invented by computer 
types for their own use, and thus they get to make up the rules as they 
go along.

Complex numbers were invented by math people.  The onus is on us to 
implement them according to the math rules.  It may seem "natural" to 
you that 1j < 2j, but the math people say it's not, so it's not.

If Bob has three oranges and Jane has 5 oranges, who has more apples?  
That may be an absurd question, but it's no more or less absurd than 
trying to evaluate 1j < 2j.

It certainly seems natural to some people that 0/0 should return 1.  
Yet, it raises an exception.  Why?  Because the rules of math say it 

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