Thursday, June 25, 2009

Damn you, xkcd!!!!!

So...

I had to do WAYyyyyyy too much research to get the joke, there-- meaning exactly the right amount to make me happy, because I am a huge nerd. And it was so worth it. Because now it is my FAVORITE COMIC EVER, and I want a huge poster of it to put on my wall, as it is simply my favorite take on a zombie apocalypse EVER, and NOW I AM OBSESSED WITH FIGURING OUT MY OWN ERDOS NUMBER!!!!!! It's going to be quite huge, I suspect. ;)

Also, how to pronounce that name. I'm not typing it correctly here, 'cause I dunno how to get Blogger to do a Hungarian umlaut over the o, which looks like two forward-slashes. Hungarian is a tricky language for the non-native speaker. Found this page LOADED with soundfiles, though! :) While this page says it's a lot like "air-dish," but this one indicates it's closer to "err-desh," as in "to err is human" and of course, the Hungarian speakers would use a gently-rolled 'r' on the "err," which, as the Google Answers page points out, is really hard for an American to do without making the rolled 'r' into an extra syllable!

What I'm curious about is how people in the mathematics community habitually pronounce it-- mathematicians, being notoriously nerdy and detail-oriented (and I say that with all the reverence of one who ASPIRES to that level! :)). I mean, MY GOODNESS, if I were to confront the Zombie Erdos and ask him to sign a paper, I WANT TO KNOW I'M SAYING HIS NAME RIGHT!!!!!!!!

7 comments:

CyberLizard said...

Why can't everyone be like Linus and just say it for us!

Side note: I once named a cat after Linus Torvolds. My wife thought it was named after Linus Van Pelt.

Perky Skeptic said...

LOL!!! Exactly. We all know how to pronounce "Linux" thanks to him! (And, either Linus seems like a great namesake for a kitty!) :)

intrinsicallyknotted said...

It sounds like "air dish". If there are other nuances of pronounciation then I don't know of them, but any mathematician would recognize it as "air dish". And he was a pretty interesting guy! I highly recommend the biography The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, by…um…somebody.

Is it too nerdy of me that the more research I have to do (or just the more obscure) the more I like the joke?

By the way, always make sure you're pronouncing a mathematician's name correctly--you never know who may be listening! Several years ago a local theatre put on a production of Proof, and my math department organized a group to go see it. Several things detracted from our enjoyment, however. First, the director's note in the program contained the statement, "This is not a play about math. If it were, it would be as dry and boring as the dust on a chalkboard." Imagine our simultaneous cries of indignation as we all read this line at the same time!
Then, at several instances during the play, the mathematician Gauss was mentioned. Properly the vowels should sound like "ow", but they pronounced it "aw"! This got so frustrating that at the end of the performance, Professor Taylor (who has Erdös number 1) was delegated to go talk to the cast and correct the pronounciation.

Perky Skeptic said...

Hee hee, musesusan, I was looking your way when I wrote this post! :D Thanks, I'm glad to know what's recognized by the math community. And no, it is NOT too nerdy to have your love of a joke be directly proportional to the amount of work that goes into understanding it! Of course, look at what company you're in, here! ;D

Reading about Erdös on Wikipedia and on numerous other sites definitely made me want to read his biography. He sounds like an awesome guy! And... gahhhhhhh, I detest people like that director who think math and sciences are dry and boring!!! Spoken like a person with little intellectual curiosity. And GAHHHHHHH, how can ANYONE mispronounce "Gauss?" It's so widespread, and in multiple disciplines-- INCLUDING the arts!!! :gakk: I die now. I am dead of the stupid.

Perky Skeptic said...

WAITAMINUTE WAITAMINUTE WAITAMINUTE..............

Intrinsicallyknotted, is your Erdös number 2??????????

Because if so: (1) I am basking in your glory, and (2) I would like to do an illustration for your next paper!!! :D :D :D

intrinsicallyknotted said...

Sadly, my Erdös number is undefined as yet. I haven't published any papers. However, I would LOVE to obtain an Erdös number of 2 by publishing a paper with the aforementioned Alan Taylor, who is in my opinion the most awesome mathematician I know (and the second most awesome mathematician ever, second only to John Conway who I have a serious nerd crush on). I keep not getting around to writing a post on my blog in praise of him (Prof. Taylor, I mean), but I should really do that.

Perky Skeptic said...

Oooooh, if you do, I'd love to read it! I'm in nerdlust just hearing about the mathematical brilliance! :D