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Re: Fonts, Formats, and examples as learning tools

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg113607] Re: Fonts, Formats, and examples as learning tools
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at math.umass.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 04:00:52 -0500 (EST)

I tried it and got exactly what I expected, including having the input 
spit back at me when I used RowForm (since there is no such built-in 
Mathematica function).

What were _you_ expecting, and why?

On 11/3/2010 3:57 AM, AES wrote:
> In response to a query about Fonts and Formats, Bob Hanlon
> <hanlonr at cox.net>   suggests the example:
>
>> Style["This is a test of various fonts 0123456789",
>>      FontFamily ->  #, 18]&  /@
>>    {"American Typewriter", "Arial",
>>     "Papyrus", "Playbill", "Webdings",
>>     "Zapf Dingbats"} // Column
>
> I was intrigued by the "// Column" suffix -- a usage I had not
> previously encountered.
>
> And, it took my mind back to a couple of recent threads where posters
> enthused over 'examples' as a desirable form of documentation, and as a
> good way of learning the intricacies of Mathematica.
>
> My (unposted) reaction at that time had been that examples can give you
> good bits of code, which you can copy and use immediately; but they can
> also be a *bad* (or at best misleading) way of learning Mathematica,
> because of the human tendency to think that if some particular coding
> gimmick works in one example, it's likely to work in other apparently
> similar or parallel situations -- in other words, the natural human
> tendency to generalize.
>
> The above example provides a beautiful example of this.  Try copying it
> and executing it six consecutive times, replacing the word 'Column"
> successively by
>
>     Row, RowForm, Column, ColumnForm, Table, TableForm
>
> [and, as always, make your own prediction *in advance* as to what's
> going to happen in each case.]
>

-- 
Murray Eisenberg                     murray at math.umass.edu
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305


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