Why tuples use parentheses ()'s instead of something else like <>'s?

Brian van den Broek bvande at po-box.mcgill.ca
Fri Dec 31 19:03:38 CET 2004

Hi all,

a question about using parenthesis for tuples veered very far off topic 
before I returned from a trip and found the thread. I've a comment on 
the original topic, and then a comment off-topic even for the off-topic 
direction in which the thread ended up :-)

The on-topic:

the use of '(' and ')' for tuples really did jar me. With a background 
in set-theory, I expected tuples to look like <1, 2, 3>. It took a 
little bit to reset my brain.

I am aware that even some set theory material is starting to use rounded 
brackets for tuples. With this I can cope (barely). But, just yesterday, 
I was reading an otherwise fine book on relevance logic marred by its 
use of both angle and round brackets for tuples, with no apparent 
principle other than the coin toss determining which to use when. The 

The off-topic**2:

Alex Martelli said unto the world upon 2004-12-30 19:09:


> Have you heard of Villanova, often named as the birthplace of Italian
> civilization?  That's about 15 km away, where I generally go for major
> grocery shopping at a hypermarket when I _do_ have a car.


> Alex

'Hypermarket' is a new one to me, but seems instantly understandable. It 
also makes me very sad.

Italy isn't my country, but for the past few years I've been lucky 
enough to spend a month or so in the north each year. In the short time 
I've been doing so, I think I've been able to detect the decline of the 
small independent shops and the rampant growth of the american style 
mall, big-box store and mutilplex.

The small store to which you can walk and where you likely know the 
vendor, and even if you don't, run the real risk of having a 
conversation, seems a thing worth trying to preserve. They surely aren't 
as efficient as the north-american model, but one of the nicest things 
about Italian culture IMHO is that it appears to understand that some 
things are at least as important as efficiency.

And it is truly heart-breaking to see the beautiful countryside around 
Italian towns being defaced by large fields of blacktop.

Luddites of the world unite!

Happy New Year to all,

Brian vdB

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