research at johnohagan.com
Tue Jul 3 04:25:59 CEST 2012
On Tue, 3 Jul 2012 11:22:55 +1000
Chris Angelico <rosuav at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 10:57 AM, Steven D'Aprano
> <steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info> wrote:
> > Perhaps the world would be better off if mathematicians threw out the
> > existing precedence rules and replaced them with a strict left-to-right
> > precedence. (Personally, I doubt it.)
> > But until they do, consistency with mathematics is far more important
> > than the foolish consistency of left-to-right precedence.
> And if they ever do, it'll break consistency with past centuries of
> mathematical writing. Imagine (taking this to another realm) that it's
> decided that since Wolfram is now called Tungsten, it should have the
> chemical symbol 'T' instead of 'W'. This is far more consistent,
> right? And Iron should be I, not Fe. We'll move Iodine to Io (and
> Europium to Europa and Gallium to Ganymede?), and tritium (the isotope
> of hydrogen) can become H3. It'd make today's chemistry notes look as
> archaic and unreadable as those using alchemical symbols, only the
> actual symbols are the same, making it ambiguous. Nope. Better to
> stick with what's standardized.
I agree to some extent, but as a counter-example, when I was a child there
a subject called "Weights and Measures" which is now redundant because of the
Metric system. I don't miss hogsheads and fathoms at all.
Music is another field which could do with a "metrification": I get tired of
explaining to beginners why there's no B#, except when it's C. Check out
If legacy systems get too far out of sync with current practice, they become
an unnecessary layer of complexity and a hurdle to understanding, and at some
point you have to take the plunge, old books be damned.
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