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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Symbols for Everyday Use

The history of mathematics is stuffed to the rafters with people who won fame primarily by inventing or popularizing some symbol.  Euler, for example, popularized the use of  π.  He didn't discover pi, he wasn't even the first person to use the Greek letter π to represent the number.  He was just the person who made it fashionable to do so, and for that he won everlasting glory.  I don't know what sort of royalties he got on that, but let's suppose it was as little as one tenth of one percent of a penny every time someone wrote π.  Why, I've used it three times so far just in this blog!


In the interests, therefore, of furthering the march of civilization, I propose the following innovations in symbology that we could use to express difficult mathematical concepts in our everyday life.

Moneygon: The difference between how much you think something should cost and how much it actually does.

Timesuk: Similar to the Moneygon, this represents the difference between the time you anticipated for a project, and the actual time required.

Bytestop: The number of times you can chew your food at dinner before a telemarketer calls.

Infinitube: The function of infinitely reducible quantity of dentifrice.  That is, no matter how much toothpaste you get out of the tube, there's still enough left to brush your teeth one more time.

Fumego: How many additional miles you can go after your fuel light comes on.

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