February 10, 2008

Dreaming about Wikipedia.

Have you ever dreamed about looking things up in Wikipedia? I have. What were you looking up? I was looking up the number 3. Did you know that Wikipedia has long, elaborate entries on particular numbers. Here's 3. Excerpt:
It is frequently noted by historians of numbers that early counting systems often relied on the three-patterned concept of "One- Two- Many" to describe counting limits. In other words, in their own language equivalent way, early peoples had a word to describe the quantities of one and two, but any quantity beyond this point was simply denoted as "Many". As an extension to this insight, it can also be noted that early counting systems appear to have had limits at the numerals 2, 3, and 4. References to counting limits beyond these three indices do not appear to prevail as consistently in the historical record.
What a great job to be a historian of numbers! Here's the historical progression of the numeral 3 coming to look like our lovely little 3?


Bob said...

It's a great resource. I was looking at dog breeds for you yesterday, I stopped at Boucheron.

Today I was looking up vitriol-throwing in response to a news story about acid being thrown in Bulgaria, and found that there was an actual word for the act: vitriolage.

It's an amazing resource, if you remember to take what it says with a grain (sometimes a shaker) of salt.

Maxine Weiss said...

I know lots of guys with blemishes, little spots, ruddy skin who use this:


That stuff is the best on the markety. Always use a gold-based tint for ruddy skin.

rhhardin said...

One, two, many self-enumerating sentences, enumerated.

George said...

"Dreaming About Wikipedia"...sounds like an indy movie that pops up in art theatres in February and stars Liv Tyler, Joan Plowright, and James Spader...

dmandman said...

Just wondering when big print is going to say something about the real estate mortgage professions "dirty little secret" http://www.FAKEPAYCHECKSTUBS.com It is websites like this that has created the subprime meltdwn and our economic downfall!.....Imagine how many more problems our economy will have (MORE BANK RIGHTDOWNS and FORECLOSURES) unless someone says something!

Maxine Weiss said...

They also make an anti-redness cream. Or, "creme" I should say.

You can use a green-based primer to counteract a ruddy skin tone, but I prefer gold.

Maxine Weiss said...


ricpic said...

One, of course, is first
And two is all our dream,
But things get really interesting
With three, the king of schemes.

Balfegor said...

From the wiki:

The Romans tired of writing 4 as IIII, but to this day 3 is written as three lines in Roman and Chinese numerals.

I think this is a little misleading with respect to Chinese numerals. I think that the modern 三 was generally written as 參 or 参 until the simplifications of the 20th century. That may be wrong or contextual (which is why I'm not putting it in wikipedia), but I've seen various old sequences of numbers using the second character, and not the first, so it must have been standard in at least some cases. Nowadays, I only see 参 used for numbering volumes of multi-volume works, at least in Japanese and Korean. It might still be out there in other contexts I don't know about, though.

john said...

There's a pink one,
and a brown one,
and blue one,
and a yellow one,
and their all made out of Wiki waki,
and they all look just the same.

Will Conway said...

sorry ann, that's just odd

Johnny B. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chip Ahoy said...

Then man's brain developed, convoluted so there was more brain surface within the skull and therefore more area to process mathematics. But by then the Académie Française de Lettres et les Beaux Artes had taken hold and prevented new words from appearing to accommodate the new ideas so the people piled up the old words to express them, thus phrases appeared like, "a couple dozen something" or, "a few score something" until finally, and looking back on this you're tempted to think you'd have seen this coming, someone verbally expressed the idea of "a few several hundreds of thousands of something" and their listener's head exploded. That put an end to humanity's numbers comprehension progression until it loosened itself from the academy.

Ann Althouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

I knew a girl named Maxine who was so stupid that.......

* she called me to get my phone number.
* she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice box because it said "concentrate."
* she put lipstick on her forehead because she wanted to make up her mind.
*she tried to put M&M's in alphabetical order.
*she sent me a fax with a stamp on it.
*she tried to drown a fish.
*she thought a quarterback was a refund.
*she got locked in a grocery store and starved to death.
*she tripped over a cordless phone.
*she took a ruler to bed to see how long she slept.
*she asked for a price check at the Dollar Store.
*she studied for a blood test.
*she thought Meow Mix was a CD for cats.
*when she heard that 90% of all crimes occur around the home, she moved.
*when she missed the 44 bus, she took the 22 bus twice instead.
*when she took you to the airport and saw a sign that said "Airport Left" she turned around and went home

Meade said...

Johnny B. is probably just jealous because he's the only one on this comment thread who doesn't have his own Wikipedia entry.

Maxine Weiss said...

I bet she tells a mean Christmas story:


Mr. Forward said...

"early counting systems appear to have had limits at the numerals 2, 3, and 4."

I'm like that with beer.