off topic but please forgive me me and answer

Steve Holden steve at
Sat Apr 3 15:38:11 CEST 2010

superpollo wrote:
> Patrick Maupin ha scritto:
>> On Apr 2, 2:41 pm, Andreas Waldenburger <use... at geekmail.INVALID>
>> wrote:
>>> While everyone else is mocking you: Can you please elaborate on why you
>>> want to know and what kind of problem you're trying to solve with this?
>>> Also, don't you think you should have picked a maths forum for this
>>> kind of question?
>> Methinks the OP is fluent in the way of choosing newsgroups.
>> According to google, he has posted 6855 messages in 213 groups.
>> And I can't speak for anybody else, but I just assumed it was an April
>> Fool's question.  I meant to be laughing with the OP, not at him, so
>> sorry if I misunderstood.
> no no you understood prfectly *but* the thing is i am a regular in an
> italian language math ng which is haunted by a crackpot who insists that
> 1/2 * 1/2 cannot be 1/4, "because multiplication means getting bigger",
> so i took a semi-serious stance and made a few posts as a statistical
> tentative to "convince" said crackpot that the world is not going crazy
> (but maybe he is)
> thanks
> ps: note that my nickname is not unique, and there are a few people
> whith the same one... and i didn't ever post using googlegroups

If you think you will persuade a crackpot to drop his lunacy by logical
argument you are clearly an optimist of the first water. But since I
like a challenge (and bearing in mind this is OT so I don't claim to be
an expert) you might try first of all persuading him to agree to the
commutativity of multiplication (i.e. x * y == y * x for any x and y).

If he agrees to that, then get him to agree that x * 1 == x for any x.

If he agrees to that, then set x = 1/2 and see if he'll agree that 1/2 *
1 == 1/2.

If he does, then surely he must also agree that 1 * 1/2 == 1/2, i.e.
multiplication can indeed "make things smaller".

Good luck, though. Crackpots aren't generally responsive to appeals to
rational thinking.

Steve Holden           +1 571 484 6266   +1 800 494 3119
See PyCon Talks from Atlanta 2010
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