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Why 1 = 3

Several readers have sent me the Powerpoint presentation Numbers. If you've not seen it, download it and play it at StrangeCosmos.com.

The video presentation raises many questions surrounding why numbers symbolically look the way that they do. As one reader (B.G., Bellingham) wrote: "I have never seen the Hindu-Arabic numerals written the way the author of this video expresses them. However, even if it may not be true, the idea is convincing."

The video brought back memories of a system advocated by a fringe-math group about twenty years ago that mirrored this approach...called Touch Math. Its pedagogical focus was on strokes used to form a number, not angles.

Despite prior knowledge of how the number symbols came to be, I rapidly am suspicious of these new claims. They become artificial in their construction of the number symbols... especially the symbols 7, 8, and 9. Or, even 1, which in script form has a foot to it and that would add 2 more angles. So, I guess 1=3!