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Symbolic Mathematical symbols

Many mathematical symbols such as plus, negative-positive signs, or equal-to sign are recent inventions. The article provides a very fascinating peek into this short history of Mathematical signs.


A stockpile of cars

I can’t help but think of an analogy here. Think of a person who is trapped in the vicious cycle of eating and more eating – he eats, and the sugar in the food gives him an instant rush making him feel good. Then the sugar level in his blood crashes so he craves sugar and eats more food. Of course, his body doesn’t need so much of food, so it stores the excess food forming layers and layers of flab over a period of time. Imagine if car manufacturers did something similar – manufacture more cars than are needed. Over a period of time, the car-stock piles up because there aren’t enough buyers. But the company cannot stop production because then it would mean that it will have to lay off thousands of workers, it will impact other small businesses that supply car parts to the company, it will affect steel production and finally it will trigger recession again. Of course, even then, stockpiling cars defies logic. The company would not sell off cars at a lower price because that would devalue its premium cars as well. So, the company buys more land to keep the “un-bought” cars till there are acres of land full of just – cars!

(The link is courtesy a car-enthusiast friend. And, yes, check out the pictures too)