Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gibberish Equations in a Spoof Article

I'm sure many of my fellow right-wing technophiles have come across discussions of a spoof article purporting to show that global warming could be attributed to benthic bacteria with further flames on how many of us wingnuts were taken in (gloating here, annoyance here and there, and whining here). Much of the discussion is about how the spoof should have been obvious because the alleged mathematical formulas in the article were complete gibberish.

I happen to be an expert on gibberish equations. Those formulas looked like they might have been the result of careless editing in TeX. For example, if somebody who doesn't know what he's doing is told to make sure the first character in the formula

$$A + xyz\over abc - 42$$
is in a calligraphic font, he might turn the formula into
$$\cal A + xyz\over abc - 42$$
which will become:
This resembles the formulas in the spoof article.

Another way formulas can turn into gibberish is if they are converted to MathML but happen to be in the Symbol font, a Mathematica font, or Dingbats. (I've seen it happen.)

Addendum: It should not be too difficult to create a hoax that appeals to the prejudices of the most fervent believers in global warming.

Wait a moment … It's been done.


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