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Old 18 April 2007, 09:27 AM
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Glasses No + in Israeli math books

Comment: Here is a curious one that is easily substantiated.

A number of websites claim that the plus sign (+) is banned from
elementary school math texts books in Israel because it looks too much
like a cross. They claim it has been replaced with an upside down T.
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  #2  
Old 18 April 2007, 09:41 AM
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Wikipedia (for what it's worth)

Quote:
A Jewish tradition dating at least from the 19th century is to write plus using a symbol like an inverted T. This practice was adopted into Israeli schools (this practice goes back to at least the 1950s) and is now commonplace in most elementary schools (including secular schools) and some secondary schools. It is also used occasionally in books by religious authors, but most books for adults use the international symbol "+". The usual explanation for the practice is that it avoids the writing of a symbol "+" that looks like a Christian cross.
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Old 18 April 2007, 10:02 AM
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This site says the same thing - in almost identical language though.

Quote:
A Jewish tradition going back to at least the 19th century is to write a plus not as cross, but rather like an upside-down T. This practice is usually explained with the wish to avoid use of a symbol that's reminiscent of the christian cross. The variation of the plus is encoded separately in the Unicode at U+FB29 "Hebrew letter alternative plus sign"

Since the 1970s, this alternative plus has been taught in schools in Israel and is commonplace now in most elementary schools and some secondary schools. Books for adults use the international plus-sign though, apart from the works of some religious authors.
Bits of it seems to be linked to Wiki - not sure how though

Dropbear
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Old 18 April 2007, 01:18 PM
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This seems a lot like saying freedom fries instead of french fries to me.
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Old 18 April 2007, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malalaise View Post
This seems a lot like saying freedom fries instead of french fries to me.
Well, European Jews would have a legitimate gripe against the cross of the Crusades, as each of the major Crusades to the Holy Land began with a mini-crusade to slay Jews back home in Europe.

It would be like "Freedom Fries" if France had attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor!

One wonders if Arabic textbooks on geometry ever happen to mention two equilateral triangles rotated by pi/2 and having the same center.

Silas
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Old 18 April 2007, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
One wonders if Arabic textbooks on geometry ever happen to mention two equilateral triangles rotated by pi/2 and having the same center.
I'm dense. what would that look like?

ETA: Star of David?
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Old 19 April 2007, 10:03 AM
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To be fair, some countries just do use different mathematical symbols anyway, for example in lots of places in Europe they use commas to mark decimal points, where I would use a full stop; and I seem to recall that in Norway they use what looks like an international division symbol (a horizontal line with a dot above and below it) for subtraction, instead of a -. Confused the hell out of me when I stayed there.

So, not to say that the Israeli plus sign isn't religiously motivated, but it's not unknown for these differences to exist just because.
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Old 19 April 2007, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElapheG View Post
To be fair, some countries just do use different mathematical symbols anyway, for example in lots of places in Europe they use commas to mark decimal points, where I would use a full stop; and I seem to recall that in Norway they use what looks like an international division symbol (a horizontal line with a dot above and below it) for subtraction, instead of a -. Confused the hell out of me when I stayed there.

So, not to say that the Israeli plus sign isn't religiously motivated, but it's not unknown for these differences to exist just because.
One interesting case is that, for a century, in England, the symbol for mathematical differentiation was a dot, whereas, in Germany, they used the "d/dx" notation. This was an issue of nationalism, as the English celebrate Isaac Newton for having discovered the Calculus, and the Germanies (there were several of them at the time) applaud Leibniz for it. The contention became a serious issue of national rivalry.

(The d/dx notation is so superior, that, in time, English students rebelled! A quip of the time held that "pure d-ism" is to be preferred over the "dot-age" of antiquity.)

Jonny T: aye, I was describing a Star of David. It is a figure that often comes up in a discussion of polygons.

(In the same way, much of the world has seen fit to efface the swastika from sight, even going so far as retroactively demonize it. Here in San Diego, in the park, there were some very old cast iron lanters -- c. 1925 -- that incorporated the swastika motif. They were benignly ignored for a long time after WWII, but in the 1980's, some self-appointed guardians of the public morality -- i.e., jerks -- made a big fuss about them and forced the city to remove them.)

Silas ("symbol Simon")
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Old 21 April 2007, 03:39 AM
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An inverted T? Isn't that what we use for our sign for "perpendicular"? ....Then again, I didn't do so hot at geometry.
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Old 21 April 2007, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Miss Mouse View Post
An inverted T? Isn't that what we use for our sign for "perpendicular"? ....Then again, I didn't do so hot at geometry.
I believe you are correct...

(I loved geometry: I approached it like "law" rather than like "math." Proving a theorem was a little like working through the fine print in a contract!)

Silas
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Old 21 April 2007, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
In the same way, much of the world has seen fit to efface the swastika from sight, even going so far as retroactively demonize it.
The same goes for certain company logos ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASEA ) or airforce insignia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_airforce ) with no connection to the nazi swastika.
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Old 21 April 2007, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
The same goes for certain company logos ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASEA ) or airforce insignia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_airforce ) with no connection to the nazi swastika.
I'd never seen the Finnish Air Force symbol before. Is it possible that this is where the Nazis saw it in the first place? The proportions appear identical to the Nazi symbol, and, of course, Hitler hated the USSR, so he probably would have admired anyone who stood up to them.

Silas
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Old 22 April 2007, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
I'd never seen the Finnish Air Force symbol before. Is it possible that this is where the Nazis saw it in the first place? The proportions appear identical to the Nazi symbol, and, of course, Hitler hated the USSR, so he probably would have admired anyone who stood up to them.
I don't think so. The symbol was very popular at the time and has ancient roots. There is an old house of historical value (Gustav Wasa, the man who threw out the Danes and later became king, hid and escaped from the Danes there when he was gathering support for the rebellion) in my home town which has several svastikas carved into the wood, and people used to trace them with their finger for good luck and to keep the trolls away. Apparently, it's very effective, as even today, some 400 years later, no trolls have been seen there. The symbol goes even further back, all the way to the early vikings. I think the symbol, at the pre-WW2 time, was somewhat "new agey" (if that expression had been around) and would have been comparable to the Yin-Yang-symbol during the 70-ies.

As for the proportions, having the same width for the lines as for the spaces between them produce those proportions, so it's not that hard to imagine it as a coincidence. Draw a svastika on a grid paper and odds are that you'll end up with those proportions.

One must also remember that Finland and Germany did not join forces until fairly late in the war, and their airforce was a ragtag mix of aircraft from practically all major nations of WW2. They had exceptional pilots, though, which, much more than the aircraft they flew, saved them. I can't find the numbers now, but I think their kill ratio was unmatched, even though they flew inferior aircraft throughout the war. They even turned on the Luftwaffe during the late stages of the war.

Edit: My spelling sucks. Now it sucks slightly less.
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