HN Gopher Feed (2017-08-29) - page 1 of 10
Don't Fall for Babylonian Trigonometry Hype
31 points by robinhoustonhttps://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/dont-fall-fo...
anateus - 32 minutes ago
This is a great article touching on the several ways in which this
new Plimpton 322 hype is overblown. There's usually a paper like
that comes out every few years :)If you're interested in learning
more about Babylonian math-history I highly recommend Jens H?yrup's
Lengths, Widths, Surfaces.
chroem- - 25 minutes ago
This article seems to boil down to "stop liking what I don't like."
Is Wildberger's distaste for real numbers eccentric? Yes. Is
there anything fundamentally wrong with what he is proposing?
Absolutely not.As long as rational trigonometry is logically
consistent then you really can't argue against it except on
aesthetic grounds. I don't see why popsci outlets like Scientific
American should feel the need to rally the public against rational
trigonometry on emotional grounds.
AnimalMuppet - 21 minutes ago
I didn't read it that way. They are rallying against the claim
that rational trigonometry is "superior" or "more accurate", and
not on emotional grounds.
Lazare - 12 minutes ago
I disagree.Mansfeld and Wildberger made a number of trivially
provable false claims. I read the SciAm article as 1) focusing
on their false claims and 2) not trying to "rally the public"
against rational trigonometry at all, much less on emotional
grounds.In particular, Mansfeld and Wildberger (especially as
reported in other outlets) are making the claim that "rational
trigonometry" is more accurate, and that's a concrete claim with
is 1) easily verifiable and 2) wrong.And that's not even touching
on the bizarre claim that "we count in base 10, which only has
two exact fractions: 1/2, which is 0.5, and 1/5." There's so
much wrong with that, it's hard to know where to start.
chroem- - 3 minutes ago
>that's a concrete claim with is 1) easily verifiable and 2)
wrongI fail to see how it's wrong. If you call Math.sin(x) it
will return a numerical approximation of sin(). Would you care
to elaborate rather than casually dismissing it?> There's so
much wrong with that, it's hard to know where to start.Such as?
60 has more prime factorizations than 10, and therefore using
it as a numeric base will result in you encountering fewer
irrational numbers. You really can't argue against that.