Negative Zero


Zero degree (Celsius) is cold.  But you know what’s really cold?  Negative zero.  At least according to the sign that our colleague Nicole saw in Canada.


15 Responses to “Negative Zero”

  1. Rod Carvalho Says:

    Not really a mistake:

    Why computers have two zeros: +0 and -0

  2. health food toronto Says:

    The climate in canada is extereme. sometimes the temperature go as below as -20 degreee so it is common to give warnings of how much snow will be covered. during the snow fall times.

  3. Ξ Says:

    That’s interesting Rod — I do kind of like the idea of positive and negative zeros. But I don’t think the computer negative zero is what was aimed for: I suspect it was either an error (e.g. maybe some signs said -10, and the number was just changed to freezing with the negative remaining) or it was just to emphasize that you don’t have to worry about sliding unless the temps are negative, and putting < 0 didn't convey that as accurately.

    Or, you know, it was just a…maybe not mistake, but a redundancy.

  4. Santo D'Agostino Says:

    Judging by the tower in the background, the sign seems to be from the city of Niagara Falls. The falls create a large amount of mist, and so the streets near the falls are often wet. When temperatures are cold enough, one can appreciate that the streets will therefore be treacherous.

    I agree that the sign is unintentionally redundant in its intent. (I guess that makes it intentionally unintentionally redundant.) Funny, though!

  5. Ed Davidson Says:

    If you have lived in a cold climate 0 is sometimes looked at as a +0 or a -0 depending if the trend is warming or cooling. The sign makes perfect sense.

  6. ms.lloyd Says:

    I don’t think they meant negative zero. I think it’s meant to read (looking at symbols from left to right) “Slippery when the temperature is less than or equal to 0 degrees Celsius”. I often have to use – for greater than equal to.

  7. ms.lloyd Says:

    OK HTML coding ruined my last sentence. So, here it is again (i hope): I often have to use ” -” for greater than equal to.

  8. ms.lloyd Says:

    Sorry that didn’t fix it either. I often have to use the less than symbol and a dash by it to represent less than or equal to in certain programs.

  9. Keith Raskin Says:

    Here are some math jokes I came up with. Enjoy. Or fake it. There is one about zero, but no positive or negative infinitesimals.

    A math student is told by his mother to set the table. “To what?” he replies.

    What polygon is also a card trick?

    What are inequalities?
    Read a newspaper.

    I went to see ‘Plane Meets Plane’, but there was a long line. Not much point in seeing ‘Plane Meets Line’ again.

    Two barcodes go to a shady optometrist. They sit and stare at a light for half an hour. One of them says, “I think this is a scan.”

    Two lines walk into a barcode. They hashed it out.

    What is the binomial distribution?
    A free lunch program.

    What does a vegan mathematician eat?
    Roots, whole numbers, natural logs, tree diagrams and stem-and-leaf plots.

    Student: What’s infinity?
    Math TR: Think of a number. . . . That’s not it.

    ST: What’s zero?
    TR: The number of times something happens that doesn’t.
    ST: What are the chances of that?
    TR: Exactly.

    How many mathematicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
    On average or do you want the whole distribution?

    Two circles walk into a club. They made a tree.

    How did every student get a score over 100 on the test?
    They were percentages!

    In life trees grow roots.
    In math roots split logs.

    ST: What’s abstract reasoning?
    TR: . . .

    A guy goes into a math store eleven times, exactly.

    A guy goes into a beleaguered math store.
    Guy: What happened?
    Clerk: Well, we have wall to wall problems, our answers are still in boxes and our solutions are leaking out.

    What did the 8 say to infinity?
    Rise and shine, buddy!

    What did the Venn diagram say to infinity?
    Eat something, dude!

    How do you solve any equation?
    Multiply both sides by zero.

    What did the trig teacher say to the triangles?
    You’re all right.

    Guard: I need some ID.
    Math Tr: Additive or multiplicative?
    Guard: Yours.
    Math Tr: Ah, reflexive!

  10. Keith Raskin Says:

    What’s a pyramid scheme?

    Dearth by triangulation.

  11. Keith Raskin Says:

    A mathematician saw a double feature of The Matrix and Transformers and was sorely disappointed that they were not documentaries on linear algebraists. In despair she turned to graphic novels, only to find no graphs!

    In the middle of a proof, Bill lost all generality and became somebody, unfortunately a zookeeper who knew nothing of algebraic number theory!

    A mathematician’s epiphany: Let x be . . . Just Let x be!
    Some months later: Let x get a haircut and a job.

    Quick, the teacher cried, I need 150 copies of this!
    Try an exponent, said the snarky math student.

    This exponential growth must be curtailed, or else we’ll need a new definition of superscript.

    PRESIDENT: Professor, the population is exploding exponentially! What should we do?
    PROF: Take two logarithms and call me in a decade.

    • Keith Raskin Says:

      Salesperson: You’ll save money, do the math!
      Math Student: That’s applied math. I’m in theory.
      Salesperson: I’m sorry. Do you want a job application?
      Math Student: Uh, yes, actually.

      Text: What’s the probability of randomly drawing a King from a deck of cards?
      Student: Almost zero. It’s much more likely I’d drink a soda or play a video game.

      • Keith Raskin Says:

        Old MacEuler had a complex vector
        And to this vector he added 1
        With a 0-0 here and a 0-0 there
        Here a 0, there a 0, everywhere that’s locally analytic a 0-0
        Old MacEuler had a complex vector
        And from this he had a proof
        With a [voice of Alanis Morissette goes here]

  12. Keith Raskin Says:

    Heard about the mathematician who broke the law?
    He found a counterexample. Did five years on a möbius strip. Never got to the end. After that he was in and out of a Klein bottle.

  13. Maths Tutor Says:

    Nothing wrong. Whether it is +0 or -0 it will remain only 0.

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