Posted by: **Alexandre Borovik** | June 4, 2013

## A professional skill: parsing

I am proud that, after marking 220 examination scripts in first year linear algebra , I was still able to locate, at a glance, an error in this picture — thanks to skills in parsing of meaningless symbolic input developed over many years of teaching mathematics.

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Apart from the error (which indeed strikes the eye, since 9! is far beyond the range 1..12), why 1=9/9 is out of step? can’t one express 1 via three 9’s and not two?

By:

Sergei Yakovenkoon June 4, 2013at 7:42 am

A good point: of course, 1 can be expressed via three 9’s.

By:

Anonymouson June 4, 2013at 8:26 am

;-)

By:

Sergei Yakovenkoon June 4, 2013at 8:30 am

You are a professional indeed :)

By:

Anonymouson June 4, 2013at 8:36 am

$9^{9-9}$

By:

temuron June 4, 2013at 1:20 pm

;-)

By:

Sergei Yakovenkoon June 4, 2013at 2:29 pm

Ahh, they meant to use those symbols in the opposite order. I wonder where the error crept in. Did someone give handwritten diagrams to someone else, who put it into a computer system wrong? Except for the errors, I love this clock. So much more accessible for students than the other math clocks I’m familiar with. Maybe I’ll search for a site that let’s you make your own, and get a four 4’s clock made.

By:

suevanhattumon June 4, 2013at 4:03 pm

First google hit for four fours closk is hilarious: http://www.taliscope.com/clock_4444_Base.html

By:

suevanhattumon June 4, 2013at 4:04 pm

My big problem with this clock, is it assumes no negative hours can exist but uses roots!

By:

Aliceon June 14, 2013at 1:10 am