Academic journal article et Cetera

Mathsemantics: Response

Academic journal article et Cetera

Mathsemantics: Response

Article excerpt

I thank Craig Presson for reviewing my book, Mathsemantics, which I gather he liked. I just wish, of course, that he hadn't felt quite so much need to balance his praise with the three "little problems" he mentions, two of which concern nothing, uh, that is, zero.

My wife has asked me to report that she refuses to accept any "credit" for devising the recruitment quiz (and indeed I confess my responsibility on page 2 of the book). She will, however, admit to administering the quiz, as our personnel director, if pressed. I'm reminded to thank her once again, this time by a reader's suggestion that any new edition carry the subtitle: The true story of how Ed MacNeal found out the literal truth of "Good help really is hard to find."

While on exonerations, let me hasten to assure Presson and all readers that I didn't mean to imply that Gina Kolata or any computer-typeface manufacturer confuses the two meanings (empty set and zero) of a slashed zero. I was only trying to say that we're probably stuck with the symbol-confusion. I might have added that because international-signage-convention uses slashes to mean "not," a slashed-zero should mean not-zero; right?

Presson is surely correct that a separate book could be written on the subject of division by zero (although not by me). …

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