Posts tagged ‘measurement’

November 13, 2011

The reification of reproductive skew…

by Lucas Wilkins

I thought that I would revisit reification. It’s been a while since the original discussion and I’ve had this almost written for ages.

I think all of us here at jellymatter agreed that Gould’s reification was not the same as reification as usually used in philosophy: Gould’s reification is sociological, whereas the philosophical term refers to a mistake in thinking (more specifically a category error). This is not to say the two are unrelated. I came across the following passage by Kant which to me summed up exactly what I considered to be happening in Gould’s reification. This bit is about the huge academic effort put into investigating ontological proofs of the existence God – an undoubtedly reified entity:

March 30, 2011

Things that are annoying and should be done differently

by Nathaniel Virgo

Here are some well-established things that are being done wrong and should be changed.

1. \pi

Pi, that most fundamental of mathematical constants.  Except that pretty much whenever you see it in an equation it’s always got a 2 along with it.  This is because pi is defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter when it really should have been defined in relation to the radius instead.  That’s why there’s 2\pi radians in a circle instead of \pi, which would make more sense.

I was cheered to discover recently that there are others who share this opinion.  The link is to the “Tau Manifesto”.  They make a good argument that one should define a new circle constant represented by the Greek letter \tau (tau), such that \tau=2\pi.  I agree with their argument, but still sort-of prefer my own idea, which was to replace \pi by a new character which looks like one \pi stacked on top of another, like this:

= 2\pi

This character would be called “cake”, so the above equation would be read “cake equals 2 pie”.  Which is true.

2. Decibels

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