On learning to code: all being equal

Almost equal to symbols

Reading and writing English with reasonable competency means you expect to be able to understand anything written in English. Not at the first reading, but with patience and persistence. I’m starting to realize coding may be an exception.

As someone coming to terms with = not meaning ‘equal to’, and == not meaning it either (we need === to be completely sure), I felt a warm flash of feeling for maths today when I realized there’s a sign for ‘almost equal to’.

It’s like an equal sign but with wiggly lines to symbolize the cognitive dissonance. I’ve used several of them for the header in an attempt to make it more decorative, but unlike real equals signs, you only need one of these to be certain (or rather, make that uncertain). So far as I understand.  

Did the ‘almost equal to’ sign sneak in when no one was looking or is it more deep rooted and responsible for ideas like infinity? Before you snigger, extra research quickly reveals the concept of asymptotic equality (a half wiggly equals sign), so my wild hunch is not so wild as you might imagine.

Now all we need is a sign for ‘a bit like’ or ‘not too far from’ (and someone to adjudicate between my mother and me on whether or not Fleetwood is close to Morecambe).

It’s OK, I have no hope or expectation that even my most loyal follower will like or comment on this one. Now if there was a sympathy button…

24 Replies to “On learning to code: all being equal”

  1. [D] I seem to think that ~ is a keyboard-friendly substitute for the approximation symbol (which needs some digging for, which clearly none of us except you Susan can be bothered to do!)

    1. You’ve reminded me of writing a sign like a humpback bridge. I enjoyed maths at school but it’s easy to cast some of those ideas aside as years pass, so I’m having to dig them out again. The strangest thing is I am very comfortable with complexities in the way we use and understand words, themselves symbols.

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