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    As finals loom, in an effort to understand infinity better, I tried to read a book about infinity today. It was infinitesimally interesting and had the typical math book characteristic of constantly apologizing for insulting your intelligence by actually explaining things. Things that were way over my head even with an explanation.

    Vicious infinite regress

    Dreadful and modern divergent series

    Vicious circle

    Apodictic hygiene




    Hankie of Death

    Mutatis mutandis



    I read the infinity chapter in Asimov on Numbers, a few years back.

    So I know that there are more points in a line that is an inch long than there are all whole numbers.


    Keep the math out of this thread please. Unless you can explain one of the phrases above.


    If I were to write a book with math, I hope that the English would be impeccable (or at least close to it), but the math would probably end up pretty bad.

    Seems to be the reverse here.

    ETA: Of course, some of those could be perfectly correct usages I just haven’t heard of, but the only time I ever saw a “vicious circle” was in a Peanuts cartoon.


    writersoul: Actually I think the English is just too good.

    I googled them.

    Vermiculate means to move in a wavy way. That’s a useful word.

    If you can’t simplify a number to remove a square root (or cube root etc) then it is a surd.

    Mutatis mutandis is a Latin phrase meaning “changing [only] those things which need to be changed”.


    vicious circle n.

    1. A situation in which the apparent solution of one problem in a chain of circumstances creates a new problem and increases the difficulty of solving the original problem. Also called vicious cycle.

    2. A condition in which a disorder or disease gives rise to another that subsequently affects the first.

    3. Logic A fallacy in reasoning in which the premise is used to prove the conclusion, and the conclusion used to prove the premise.


    I know what horripilation means (I think from a Pratchett book actually lol). uhhh that’s about it

    hankie of deawhaaaaaa?


    OOM – What does horripilation mean? That’s VERY impressive (I couldn’t find it even by googling)


    OK, I’ll quote:

    “As it happens, Dr. Goris used always to carry, blow/mop with, and deploy illustratively a large red pocket-handkerchief, which for over 25 years of classes he referred to as the Hankie of Death.”

    It’s in a footnote.


    Wow, I feel dumb 8o.

    Except vicious circle, which I saw as a joke in Peanuts, where it’s a circle with an angry face.

    And HANKIE OF DEATH? That’s just weird.


    horripilation=goose bumps


    That actually makes sense, though I might be making it up post facto. horri- horrified, pil- hair, as in depilation.

    I could be making that up, but it’s good exercise for my creative muscles.


    I can tell you what divergent series are.. and they definitely are “dreadful,” but I’ve never heard of them being called “modern.”


    Vicious infinite regress- Falling down a back hole

    Dreadful and modern divergent series- The next generation

    Vicious circle- The circle of life, (Freud)

    Apodictic hygiene- The cleanliness of the appendix

    Creduda- I think she was Cruela de Vill’s daughter

    Vermiculate- immaculate vernacular

    Horriplatively- In the playground at midnight

    Hankie of Death- The dreaded tissue

    Mutatis mutandis- bacterial silence

    surd- the gist absurd

    just my hapence

    So the ones I know:

    Coup d’etat – Basically a revolution, overthrowing the government.

    Vicious Infinite Regress – Surprised you didn’t know this, what with your maths background. Fractals are a good example; it’s a thing that breaks down into a smaller things identical to itself infinitely, the old picture of a man looking at the picture of himself looking at a picture of himself looking at a picture of himself ad infinitum business.

    Vicious Circle – A series of events that causes itself; A causes B which causes C which causes A.

    Apodictic Hygiene – Not sure about the hygiene part but apodictic means a clearly constructed logical argument where the conclusion is inescapable.

    Vermiculate – Basically, squiggly decoration.

    Horriplatively – Doesn’t exist, but horriplation does and means goosebumps.

    Mutatis Mutandis – Changing as little as possible but making necessary changes.

    Surd – Really surprised you didn’t know this one. It’s a root number that can only be expressed as the root itself, e.g. root 3 or cubed root of 5 etc.

    Intrigued to know what the others mean.


    Thanks everyone for the replies! New day, new rules! (that means you Squeak. In case you stayed off because of the title. I’ll make an exception next time.)

    Everyone: it is coup d’eCtat. And I think it means a conquering of a new field of mathematics with ecstasy (the feeling, not the drug), at least in context. I wasn’t sure if he’d made it up so I included it.

    Writersoul: If you think YOU feel dumb, it is NOTHING compared to how I felt while reading this book. I’m actually supposedly supposed to get something out of it.

    And the Hankie of Death is “a quick and easy way to distinguish those points corresponding with irrational numbers from the ones corresponding with rationals.” This quickly and easily took 3 pages, which was actually pretty good for this book.


    Very impressive. You get a brownie point, +1, whatever it is you like to get. 🙂


    I have to look it up in the real book and see if your analysis makes sense.


    LOL, they are. (I copied and pasted) (note how this is all one sentence)


    talmud: Great job!

    Especially on Creduda and Mutatis Mutandis.

    just my hapence: Very very impressive.

    Vicious Infinite Regress -Thank you! Yeah I have gaps, that’s probably why the theory troubles me so much in the first place.

    I like your clear definitions.

    Apodictic Hygiene – Thanks. He probably means being careful about constructing a logical argument.

    Vermiculate – I like that.

    Horriplatively – wow impressive.

    Mutatis Mutandis – Thanks

    Surd – It’s one of those things you know if you spend time around math people. I don’t have anyone to talk about this stuff with most of the time.

    JMH, wow. Full marks. +90 (except coup d’ectat). Incredibly impressive. Brilliant. B”N I will quote from the book today or tomorrow so you can see the ones we haven’t figured out yet in context.


    The only one left is Creduda. Anybody wanna take a stab at it?

    just my hapence

    Thought coup d’ectat was a typo…


    Well, you left out the most well known thing in infinite numbers that everyone reading this knows it’s main definition. I’m talking of course about ?. Or, specifically, the ?? series from ???all the way through.

    • Vicious infinite regress: You know the vicious cycle? Meet its cousin
    • Dreadful and modern divergent series: Yeridos HaDoros
    • Vicious circle: Definitely not a vicious cycle. Oh no. Don’t even know the guy
    • Apodictic hygiene: How miniature African deer keep themselves clean
    • Creduda: A type clothing meant for elbow covering for women, popular in Eastern European countries
    • Vermiculate: A well spoken rodent
    • Horriplatively: Portmanteau of “horrid” and “plaintive”. Meant to convey a persons dying wishes when being torn to pieces by Lovecraftian monstrosities.
    • Hankie of Death: Foreign term for the beliefs of the Jatravartids of Viltvodle VI.
    • Mutatis mutandis: The scientific classification for the juke I found in my dira.
    • surd: Type of strong drink made from apples. Well, mostly apples. Well, some apples. Well, an applish kind of flavor. Well, more of an aftertaste.

    just my hapence

    Yserbius – Brilliant!


    Yserbius: Brilliant. +10.


    yay I got a point! :3 and “coup d’ectat”…srsly corny -_-

    lol @ Yserbius ^_^


    OOM: You deserve an infinite number of points, but due to my natural limitations, I can only give a finite number.

    Now that I’ve thoroughly lambasted this book, I should note that I re-read relevant parts today (mostly Cantor) and the foundations are slowly penetrating my brain. I’m just developmentally delayed on this topic.


    I don’t like this thread.


    Thanks for sharing, Talmud. You’re always welcome on “my” threads, even if I don’t agree with you. 🙂

    (Or, you could ask me why. Even though I probably don’t deserve it for posting such a ridiculous comment. But I probably have reasons for not liking the thread, that I am not sure about posting, since I generally post very directly on other threads.)


    cool it now, I’m only kidding;)


    awwww thanks ^_^

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