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"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home."
- Anna Quindlen

Reading progress update: I've read 66 out of 338 pages.

The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life - Alex Bellos




The Babylonians used a "sexagesimal" place value system, meaning that they counted in sixties instead of tens... it may be because sixty is the lowest number divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, which would have made some arithmetical tasks easier...


The Babylonians divided the circle into 360 degrees... it has been argued that 360 was chosen because six equilateral triangles fit snugly within a circle, and that each of these angles was divided into 60 as demanded by sexagesimal fractions...


In the second century BCE the Greeks appropriated Babylonian fractions, which have been in use ever since.  The degree was traditionally divided into sixty smaller units, each a pars minuta prima, or first minute part, which were then divided into sixty smaller units, each a pars minuta secunda, or second minute part.  From the translation of these Latin phrases we get the words minute and second, our units of time, which are the most prominent modern relics of the ancient practice of counting in groups of sixty.




Also, the term "sine" in trigonometry basically refers to boobz.  The original word in Sanskrit (trig having been more or less invented in ancient India) meant "string-half", which referred to a bisected chord in a circle (the measurement of which, when considered as one leg of a right triangle with the circle's center and a radius of one unit, is equal to the sine ratio for the central angle).


ANYWAY, when the Sanskrit word for this concept was transliterated into Arabic, it sounded like the word for "bosom", so that's what everyone called it.  And thence into Latin, where it was translated to "sinus", which was the part of a woman's toga covering her, um, assets.


Sine = boobs.  And you thought math was boring.