ridiculous naming trend in definitions

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Bjorgen Jansen
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ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby Bjorgen Jansen » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:59 pm UTC

Has anyone noticed how ridiculous the names for definitions of things can get? For example: right now I am working with "probably approximately correct" learning, sometimes "almost" is defined in certain contexts etc... Does anyone else think this could be made into a funny comic, and does anyone have better examples?

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby letterX » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:51 am UTC

Bjorgen Jansen wrote:Has anyone noticed how ridiculous the names for definitions of things can get? For example: right now I am working with "probably approximately correct" learning, sometimes "almost" is defined in certain contexts etc... Does anyone else think this could be made into a funny comic, and does anyone have better examples?

Really? Its always seemed to me that "probably approximately correct" was an exceedingly precise phrase for what's going on. With high probability (greater than 1-delta) the answer is approximately (error less than epsilon) correct.

What would you call it?

Bjorgen Jansen
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby Bjorgen Jansen » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:32 am UTC

letterX wrote:
Bjorgen Jansen wrote:Has anyone noticed how ridiculous the names for definitions of things can get? For example: right now I am working with "probably approximately correct" learning, sometimes "almost" is defined in certain contexts etc... Does anyone else think this could be made into a funny comic, and does anyone have better examples?

Really? Its always seemed to me that "probably approximately correct" was an exceedingly precise phrase for what's going on. With high probability (greater than 1-delta) the answer is approximately (error less than epsilon) correct.

What would you call it?


It is appropriate, it just sounds a little ridiculous to me. In spoken english "almost" "probably" "approximately" are synonyms, and Im pretty sure I've heard an example of something with like 4 redundancies when taken as a spoken phrase. I was wondering if anyone knew any examples of names of properties or theorems that sound ridiculous.

radams
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby radams » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:06 am UTC

I remember in my undergraduate set theory course meeting Gödel's Constructible Universe and the Mostowski-Sheperdson Collapsing Lemma. The first sounds like a D&D spell, while the second sounds like an attraction at a sideshow ("The Amazing Mostowski-Sheperdson Collapsing Lemma")

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby gorcee » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:34 pm UTC

I am still convinced that Krylov Subspace Methods are not a way to compute eigenvalues, but rather a technique for using a reverse tachyon beam to detect cloaked Klingon vessels.

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby the tree » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:59 pm UTC

It seems that there is no end to the amount of different "[adjective] numbers". Integers can be happy, amicable, friendly, sexy, perfect...

mike-l
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby mike-l » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

Bjorgen Jansen wrote:In spoken english "almost" "probably" "approximately" are synonyms


I disagree. Almost every instance I can think of they mean different things. There are probably situations in which they are approximately equal, but I can't think of any.

(As a test:

Approximately every instance I can think of they mean different things. There are almost situations in which they are probably equal, but I can't think of any.)
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby gorcee » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:00 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:
Bjorgen Jansen wrote:In spoken english "almost" "probably" "approximately" are synonyms


I disagree. Almost every instance I can think of they mean different things. There are probably situations in which they are approximately equal, but I can't think of any.

(As a test:

Approximately every instance I can think of they mean different things. There are almost situations in which they are probably equal, but I can't think of any.)


But that is English, and we're talking math. There are certainly counterexamples, but the modifiers we're discussing are typically as well defined as the phrase "in the neighborhood of."

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby z4lis » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:08 pm UTC

I take it you guys haven't heard of the Tits group, else it already be here. :P
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby mike-l » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:10 pm UTC

gorcee wrote:But that is English, and we're talking math. There are certainly counterexamples, but the modifiers we're discussing are typically as well defined as the phrase "in the neighborhood of."


I'm saying they are well defined in both spots, nothing weird is going on. Probably approximately correct makes perfect sense in English as well as math and there's no redundancy.
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:33 pm UTC

Yeah, I see nothing strange about that expression apart from the fact that we might be more likely to say "about right" than "approximately correct". But "that's probably about right" is a perfectly fine thing to say.
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Bjorgen Jansen
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby Bjorgen Jansen » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:47 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Yeah, I see nothing strange about that expression apart from the fact that we might be more likely to say "about right" than "approximately correct". But "that's probably about right" is a perfectly fine thing to say.


Yes I was stretching it a bit when I said probably was a synonym for almost or approximately. There are good examples though I just can't remember them.
I also remember there being a theorem called the hairy balls theorem

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby mike-l » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:19 pm UTC

Bjorgen Jansen wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Yeah, I see nothing strange about that expression apart from the fact that we might be more likely to say "about right" than "approximately correct". But "that's probably about right" is a perfectly fine thing to say.


Yes I was stretching it a bit when I said probably was a synonym for almost or approximately. There are good examples though I just can't remember them.
I also remember there being a theorem called the hairy balls theorem


The Hairy Ball Theorem is an important fixed point result!

Normal is a bad one. It can mean a few hundred different things. And it never means the same thing as regular.
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby Jyrki » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:47 pm UTC

z4lis wrote:I take it you guys haven't heard of the Tits group, else it already be here. :P


If your mind's already in the gutter then how about perverse sheaves.

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby Bjorgen Jansen » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:57 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:
Bjorgen Jansen wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Yeah, I see nothing strange about that expression apart from the fact that we might be more likely to say "about right" than "approximately correct". But "that's probably about right" is a perfectly fine thing to say.


Yes I was stretching it a bit when I said probably was a synonym for almost or approximately. There are good examples though I just can't remember them.
I also remember there being a theorem called the hairy balls theorem


The Hairy Ball Theorem is an important fixed point result!

Normal is a bad one. It can mean a few hundred different things. And it never means the same thing as regular.


Lol yes thanks for reminding me of the perfect example of ridiculous naming: normal, regular, completely normal, completely regular, perfectly normal.. all mean different things and all in topology.
To quote the wikipedia on Tychonoff space: "Every normal regular space is completely regular" lol. Since these things have meaning to us we tend to forget that if someone overheard us say that they would think we were mental.

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby radams » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:41 pm UTC

I keep thinking of names that I'd love to fit a definition to some day. I wish there was an algebraic structure called a needle, so I could write a paper with the definition "A hypodermic is a needle with an injective function." I'd also love to define a 'mother category' some day, just so I could write a paper with the title "Yippee! [imath]\chi_A[/imath]-Mother Functors"

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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby skeptical scientist » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:25 am UTC

Some friends and I badly want to write a paper titled "Domination and the s-n-m theorem". Sadly, the standard name is the s-m-n theorem, and it's probably too basic a theorem to have a paper written about it. (Domination, on the other hand, comes up a fair bit in computability.)
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby ATCG » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:27 am UTC

mike-l wrote:
Bjorgen Jansen wrote:I also remember there being a theorem called the hairy balls theorem

The Hairy Ball Theorem is an important fixed point result!

This hasn't stopped naughty undergraduates from adopting a very rude alternative name for it.
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Re: ridiculous naming trend in definitions

Postby the tree » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:51 am UTC



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