I’m so shocked by the sheer amount of ignorant, yet argumentative idiots on Digg that I can barely even muster up a real rant. There’s an article by a math teacher explaining the common confusion his students have with the idea that 1 = .9999… repeating. He went to great lengths to explain very clearly why this is true, and wrote what I thought was a good article. What kind of response did I expect from the supposedly “techie crowd” at Digg? Well, I figured I’d see a few comments saying stuff like, “Hey, good explanation,” or “Duh…” How naive I was.

Instead, reading the comments was like going through a pile of essays written by a ward of lobotomy patients. Comments ranged from wack-ass idiotic unsupported claims such as:

TheRonald by TheRonald 1 hour ago
If your postulate was correct Euler Method and all methods based on it would be wrong. So I’m going to have to say no .9999 does not equal 1.

to half stoned musings:

joeshlub by joeshlub 1 hour ago
.99999… Isn’t a number. Thats like saying infinity isn’t a number. Its an innacurate representation. .99999…. is a decimal approximation. Case closed. .99999 doesn’t equal one because .99999 is an approximation. So all of this stuff with using fractions doesn’t apply, because 8/9 DOES NOT ACTUALLY EQUAL .8888….. because it is an approximation.

So simply put, infinity isn’t an actual number, its a concept. .9 repeating isn’t a number either, its just a concept, specifically an APPROXIMATION. if it could really exist, it perhaps would be equal to one. But try writing it. just like infinity, its impossible. Concepts don’t equal numbers. Case Closed. Try refuting that. Seriously, don’t dig me down unless you can refute it. And if you can, At least reply, I’ll be happy to hear about it.

to people who are convinced that a series can’t be infinite:

KineticFlow by KineticFlow 8 hours ago

He also has an ignorant attitude against those who criticize his opinions, saying that ..
“…sum of an infinite series (go talk to some math professors, and see how far you get) or to deny the very existence of the number .9999…. ”
What? SUM of an infinite SERIES? Series, by definition, is the sum of a sequence of terms.

He’s suffering in the world of real numbers (not even irrational, but rational numbers).
I wonder what he would say to his students when he has to teach complex numbers.

In the end, though, the posters I pity most are the ones who were actually trying to reason with the mob that is Digg.

benhocking by benhocking 1 hour ago
@psiit: Actually, you’re just reinforcing its consistency. You can’t stick a 1 after an _infinite_ series of 9’s. And, 8.9999… is, in fact, 9.

In the end, it was ae3145 who summed it up best:

ae3145 by ae3145 16 minutes ago
Hi.

I have a math degree. These are my conclusions of the day: Digg for the quick news, Slashdot for the commentary.

This is high school stuff guys, don’t embarrass yourselves. If you want something to think about, consider what e^(pi i) = -1 actually means. Google it, do some research, learn, enjoy.

Take care,
g

There are idiots on Slashdot, too. At least their comments get modded into oblivion, though. At Digg, it’s rare for even 10th of the visible comments to be well informed. The article I’ve been talking about has been taken down from the main page due to its nature, which was deemed “controversial” by the confused intellectual equivalents of field oxen who run Digg, but you can find it at http://digg.com/links/.9999999=1