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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Re: bug in IntegerPart ?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg47907] Re: bug in IntegerPart ?
  • From: Bill Rowe <readnewsciv at earthlink.net>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 19:26:47 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

On 4/29/04 at 12:34 AM, drbob at bigfoot.com (DrBob) wrote:

>2^^BaseForm[0.35`, 2] WOULD be a legitimate expression, if Help
>were correct in saying that BaseForm is a wrapper, affecting
>printing but not evaluation.

I would argue the documentation is ambiguous in this case and could be made clearer but isn't necessarily incorrect. The phrase "which affects printing, but not evaluation" could be taken to mean "does not affect subsequent evaluation" which is clearly not correct. But this phrase could also be taken to mean "does not affect evaluation of arguments" which is correct.

In general, I think this particular issue has more to do with the problems of written communication and human nature then Mathematica. Words have different meaning depending on context. A writer clearly has some context in mind. The context is significantly limited when only a single sentance is present. Human nature is such that it is difficult to realize a written passage can be interpreted much differently by a reader who will be completely unaware of the context the writer had in mind when the passage was written.
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