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RE: Re: bug in IntegerPart ?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg47948] RE: [mg47907] Re: bug in IntegerPart ?
  • From: "DrBob" <drbob at>
  • Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 04:50:43 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I was wrong about the particular expression mentioned; there's a lexical
syntax involved, not a function 2^^#& applied to the output of BaseForm.

When you say this, however:

>>But this phrase could also be taken to mean "does not affect evaluation of
arguments" which is correct.

NO function affects evaluation of its arguments, or if one did, what would
that look like? Does Exp affect the evaluation of its argument, if I write
Exp[1/x]? No, 1/x evaluates the usual way. (OK, N may be an exception.)

Yes, the author probably had something in mind that IS true; but what he
wrote isn't true, and that's been pointed out before. Many times. So far as
I know, EVERYWHERE the wrapper concept is mentioned in the documentation,
it's incorrect. Or, if it is correct in some unknown sense, it's a simple
matter to link those references to an explanation.

Many of us are doing WRI's training, consulting, and debugging for them,
negating the value of our work by giving it away for free; the least WRI can
do is respond when we point out confusion in the documentation.


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Rowe [mailto:readnewsciv at] 
To: mathgroup at
Subject: [mg47948] [mg47907] Re: bug in IntegerPart ?

On 4/29/04 at 12:34 AM, drbob at (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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