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It's hard being a math geek sometimes - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Jun. 30th, 2009

01:47 pm - It's hard being a math geek sometimes

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The other day I was in the supermarket looking at granola bars as a possible source of calcium, when I spotted a cereal. I forget what they were called, but I know the name began with "Hex". Hex-bits, Hexacrisp, something like that. It was similar to Crispix, and was made in little hexagonal pieces.

What bugs me about it is that the photo on the box showed a bowl full of the cereal... an OCTAGONAL bowl. This is just WRONG somehow!

I think what troubles me is that it's hard enough getting people to tell the difference between hexagons and octagons. I keep seeing cartoon drawings of hexagonal stop signs and octagonal hex nuts. One time I created a geometrical dissection of a regular hexagon into a regular octagon and cut out cardboard pieces to demonstrate. I showed it to someone, and he wasn't impressed, because he didn't realize that the shape had changed!

It's hard being a math geek sometimes.

Comments:

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From:just_the_ash
Date:June 30th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC)
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So this is driving you hex nuts?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
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It's like I've been hexed! Nuts!
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From:neuracnu
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
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If only name brand cereals were as blissfully specific as the off-brands:



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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
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I know it wasn't that brand; the packaging design was more... Mac-using-Yuppie stylish, with a white background and a motif of solid-color hexagons in some earth tone, of varying sizes and opacities.
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From:the_gneech
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Well it should be obvious -- hexagons are robots that cast spells, and octagons are robots that have eight arms and squirt ink.

-The Gneech
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From:rikchik
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)

Hexapodia as the key insight

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Is it true that humans have six legs? I wasn't sure from the evocation. If these humans have three pairs of legs,
then I think there is an easy explanation for...
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From:nefaria
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
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I'll be especially worried when the bees start making octagonal honeycomb.
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From:byackley
Date:June 30th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
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They'd need to put little square-shaped spacers in, of course.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 30th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
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Unless... they're HYPERBOLIC bees!
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From:byackley
Date:June 30th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
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Bee 1: Omigod, there must be like a billion flowers over that way!
Bee 2: Awesome! We are the best hive -ever- in the -history- of the -universe-!
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From:tracerj
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
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I hear you there. I've been on the same crusade myself, though to a lesser degree. Usually I break down the word roots. "Look, octo – like octopus – eight sides. Like a square that's been cut. It's totally different." And then I get stared at like I'm some kind of freaky alien zoid. Which, you know, I am.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 30th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
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What are they teaching in school these days?
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From:palabrajot
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)

For fans of Fail:

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fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog
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From:ceruleanst
Date:June 30th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
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But it's red! So that's right, isn't it?
So much trouble comes of people thinking they're qualified to teach or create educational materials for little kids just because they're secure in the assumption that as a grown-up they "know more".
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 30th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
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I recall a teacher in junior high giving examples of homophones. One of the examples she gave was "an" and "and". Aaargh.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:July 1st, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
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Must be a devoted reader of "For Better or for Worse."
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From:deckardcanine
Date:June 30th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
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The octagonal bowl is a relatively petty detail. The other problems are ones that have never plagued me since I can remember.

I'm sure it doesn't help people's memory of Greek number prefixes that the last four months of the year are misnamed.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 30th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I keep wanting to punch ancient Romans in the face and demand they think of more sensible month names! Although that usually happens when I forget whether something is happening in June or July, or in March or May.

I like the way the Japanese do it. They just call 'em 1st month, 2nd month, 3rd month, etc.
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From:discopanda
Date:July 1st, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
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I remember reading somewhere, there were originally 10 months. And the number-prefix-names matched. And then they shoehorned a couple extra months somewhere in the middle, and the number-prefix-names didn't match anymore after that.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:July 1st, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
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That's correct. And then they couldn't be arsed to change the old months' names.

Maybe it'd be better if we divided and named the months according to the zodiac.
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From:byackley
Date:June 30th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
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Hexa-Grains. They're not bad, actually - sort of a store brand knockoff of Crispix.
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From:haystack
Date:July 1st, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
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Yup... it's one of Kroger's store brands. I have a box of them in my cupboard, and they will never see milk; I eat them as a snack. They're perfectly good without any sort of adornment, but I tend to sprinkle stuff like Old Bay Seasoning or chili powder on them to add zing.
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