The letter "x" used as a multiplication symbol.

I get that the actual × symbol isn't easy to type, but I always get confused when I see plain' ol x used in its place, because I start thinking there's some kind of variable

If you must use a multiplication symbol and can't type ×, I recommend *

It's much less ambiguous

Comments

  • edited 2018-04-13 23:01:33
    I agree but also I really wish people would just make the effort to type a × or a dot or whatever. Marking homework that was obviously typed in Word where people use * for multiplication hurts my soul.
  • The moonlight is the message of love.
    I admit I'm guilty of that exact thing, but in my defense, I'm in engineering, where approximately nobody cares about the prettiness of your math notation as long as you can tell what it means.

    If Don Knuth was an engineer, TeX would never have been invented.
  • I suspect even engineers would prefer not using * for multiplication if they're in a context where it could be convolution... (Or do engineers use a different notation for that?)

    IDK, to me it's just another facet of the general phenomenon of people not making any attempt to make their homework assignments actually readable by another human being.
  • I mean * is certainly preferable to x, there is no argument about that one.
  • edited 2018-04-14 00:06:41
    imagei will watch the heck outta this pumpkin patch
    i propose the use of the komejirushi, ※, to represent convolution in a paper which uses the asterisk to represent multiplication
  • The moonlight is the message of love.
    What a convoluted solution.
  • kill living beings

    I suspect even engineers would prefer not using * for multiplication if they're in a context where it could be convolution... (Or do engineers use a different notation for that?)

    no, that's correct

    i did my engineering coursework in LaTeX and TAs gave me bonus points for that because everyone else used, like, Word
  • I always use * or a dot because it's quicker, also an asterisk is prettier.
  • in the name of the moo
    I avoid this by not doing math
  • I have cut a caper with the dancing mad god
    Depends on the context. I feel x is more intuitive than * for dimensions, such as L x W of a room.
  • The moonlight is the message of love.

    Depends on the context. I feel x is more intuitive than * for dimensions, such as L x W of a room.

    That's fair. I would never refer to a piece of lumber as a 2*4.
  • Depends on the context. I feel x is more intuitive than * for dimensions, such as L x W of a room.

    it's also pretty unlikely to be a variable in that context
  • The moonlight is the message of love.
    On a similar note, please don't give me a variable d if calculus is involved.
  • several unorthodox choices

    On a similar note, please don't give me a variable d if calculus is involved.

    dD/dKing
  • Sup bitches, witches, Haters, and trolls.

    On a similar note, please don't give me a variable d if calculus is involved.

    dd/de
  • THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS
    dKirby/ddd
  • in the name of the moo
    I get it!
  • vtkvtk
    embrace the confusion
    If I want to type × on my phone I have to switch keyboards because the Swype keyboard I usually use doesn't have it.

    I really wish there could be a custom symbols page of this keyboard where the user picks a dozen or so arbitrary characters to have handy, but no, they didn't think if that feature...
  • On a similar note, please don't give me a variable d if calculus is involved.

    a shockingly common one in this vein is using i as an index of summation when complex numbers are involved
  • imagei will watch the heck outta this pumpkin patch
    don't engineers normally use j for the imaginary unit anyways?
  • edited 2018-04-14 18:10:06
    The moonlight is the message of love.
    Also, the use of î and ĵ as unit vectors, since they tend to get written as just i and j by lazy engineers (myself included)
  • imagei will watch the heck outta this pumpkin patch
    just use emoji as variables tbh
  • Sup bitches, witches, Haters, and trolls.
    Tachyon said:

    don't engineers normally use j for the imaginary unit anyways?

    j is also a common index variable
  • The moonlight is the message of love.
    😂 = (-💩 ± sqrt(💩^2 - 4 👌 🤔))/(2 👌)
  • Sup bitches, witches, Haters, and trolls.

    Also, the use of î and ĵ as unit vectors, since they tend to get written as just i and j by lazy engineers (myself included)

    Fun fact about that: those letters are because of quaternions
  • imagei will watch the heck outta this pumpkin patch
    how come?  because vector algebra was developed as an alternative to quaternions?
  • edited 2018-04-14 19:47:42
    several unorthodox choices
    a,b,c,... = nth term coefficient in a single-variable polynomial
    a = semimajor axis of an ellipse or hyperbola
    a = angle across from side A
    a = acceleration
    a = term of a sum (with subscripts)
    A = point
    A = side across from angle A
    A = first term in standard form of a line
    A = area
    b = y-intercept of a line
    b = semiminor axis of an ellipse, or distance perpendicular to the transverse axis from the vertex to the asymptote line of a hyperbola
    b = angle across from side B
    b = base of a triangle or trapezoid
    B = point
    B = side across from angle B
    B = second term in standard form of a line
    c,C = constant of integration
    c = speed of light
    c = angle across from side C
    C = constant term in standard form of a line
    C = The Money and Soul of Possibility Control
    d = distance
    d = (full) differential
    e = 2.7182818284590452353...
    e = electron
    E = energy
    E,ℰ = electromotive force
    f = function, usually the first one
    F = Laplace transform version of function f
    F = force
    F = female
    g = function, usually the second one
    g = gravitational constant of Earth
    G = universal gravitational constant
    h = function, usually the third one, or the combination of some sort of the two
    h = Planck's constant
    ℏ = reduced Planck constant
    h = height of a triangle or trapezoid
    H = Hamiltonian (sometimes script)
    H = harmonic number
    i = index variable, usually the first one
    i = complex unit (square root of -1)
    i,
    î = unit vector in x direction
    i = an iM@S song
    I = yours truly
    I = l
    j = index variable, usually the second one
    j = jerk
    j,
    ĵ = unit vector in the y direction
    k = coefficient (by itself)
    k = index variable, usually the third one
    k,[glyph not available, ask Shanoa] = unit vector in the z direction
    l = line (usually in script)
    l = I
    L = length
    L = Lagrangian (usually in script)
    L = Laplace transform (usually in script)
    m = slope
    m = mass
    m,M = full number of something, usually used with n or N
    m = index in a matrix (often with n)
    m = uncommon variable name, often used with n
    M = male
    n = index (general usage)
    n,N = full number of anything
    n = index in a matrix (often with m)

    n = uncommon variable name, often used with m
    n = game starring gold-hungry ninja

    N = number of data points in statistical sample
    N = no
    O = origin
    O = circle
    p = momentum
    p = uncommon function or variable name, often used with q
    P = point, often a corner of a triangle quadrilateral
    P = investment principal
    q = uncommon function or variable name, often used with p
    Q =
    point, often a corner of a triangle quadrilateral
    Q = a CBC radio show
    r = radius
    r = radial coordinate
    r = rate (of anything, e.g. investment interest rate)
    R =
    point, often a corner of a triangle or quadrilateral
    s = variable inside a Laplace transform
    s = position
    s = speed
    s = secondary variable name, often used with t
    S =
    point, often a corner of a quadrilateral
    t = time
    t = common parametric independent variable
    T = transpose or transform of some sort
    u = variable representing a function of the independent variable, often used along with v
    U = potential energy, especially gravitational potential energy
    U = not me
    v = variable representing a function of the independent variable, often used along with u
    v = velocity
    V = volume
    w = variable representing a function of the independent variable, often used along with u and v
    W = work
    x = independent variable, generally representing horizontal axis or east/west axis
    x = common/representative variable name
    x = multiplication operator (when * and × and ⋅ are not used)
    x = wrong
    X = even more wrong
    X,Y,Z = vectors

    y = dependent variable, generally representing vertical axis
    y = independent variable, generally representing north/south axis, in 3D
    y = common variable name often used with x
    Y = Austin Powers's sex
    z = dependent variable, generally representing vertical axis, in 3D
    z = common variable name often used with x and y
  • Tachyon said:

    don't engineers normally use j for the imaginary unit anyways?

    I had mathematicians in mind when I wrote that post, but yeah, as Calica says I don't know that using j instead is likely to fix the problem.
  • imagei will watch the heck outta this pumpkin patch
    no, i think that was just me displaying my ignorance
  • edited 2018-04-14 23:16:32
    Sup bitches, witches, Haters, and trolls.
    nah, j for the imaginary unit is common among electrical engineers because they use i to mean current; i don't think they use as many indices as mathematicians though
  • vtkvtk
    embrace the confusion
    In python, you can write complex number literals like "1 + 2j" (which technically isn't a literal but an expression of a sum of two literals) but a j without a number immediately before it would be interpreted as a variable name.

    Btw awesome list gmh
  • edited 2018-04-16 02:42:50
    The moonlight is the message of love.
    Matlab seems to let you use i and j interchangeably for the imaginary unit

    i and j without numbers before them return the imaginary unit, unless you've already defined them as variables

    🤔 
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