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June 19, 2009

Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Divided By Two : The New Math

I've written before about how people view things from their own worldview.
Guys in gas stations give directions based on gas stations.
Cops give directions based on doughnut shops.
People who spend a lot of time in bars give directions based on bar locations.
I view the world through the Geek Perspective.

Jon and Kate Plus EightWhen I first heard my Wife say, Jon and Kate Plus Eight, I just sat waiting for the rest of the equation, as a Geek Paul Harvey might say. I waited for a while, and heard nothing; apparently, to my Wife, (Jon + Kate) + Eight is an equation sufficient unto itself.

My bad; I didn't recognize the formulation. The expression is certainly sufficient to have become an industry in itself. There's a lot of money in (Jon + Kate) + 8.

I've learned that it's really (JOHN - H) + KATE + 2 + 6 , which is to say:
John (take away the H, makes Jon) and Kate plus twins plus sextuplets.

When I lived in Virginia I had a friend, Larry Myers, who would see dirty trucks with "4 x 4" written on the sides, and he'd complete the equation by writing "= 16" in the dust with his finger. Get it? 4 x 4 = 16?

Equals Ten

I think of Larry often, and I definitely think of him when I hear (Jon + Kate) + Eight, because I want to shout "equals Ten!".

Jon & Kate + 8
I guess these people (Mr. and Mrs. Gosselin) have a Television show about their life. They've got a website. Blogs. Books. Fan clubs. Product endorsements. Wikipedia entry. They live in Pennsylvania. Two parents, eight kids. I'd have called the show "Diapers For Six", and maybe that's why I'm not in that industry.

Jon and Kate : Welfare Queen 2.0

< RANT ON > Please let me diverge from my intended course to speak of these people for a moment. They quite intentionally raise kids that they can't provide for, and the larger economy and society pays the bills. They need a bigger home, they get a bigger home. Need helpers to keep the children changed? They get helpers. They don't raise the kids themselves; they've got too much going on - places to be, events to attend. If these weren't white/asian folks from Pennsylvania, would they be acceptable?

The Associated Press reported in 2005, "Kate Gosselin said she feels society has a responsibility to help with the children, since modern medicine promotes the use of fertility drugs, which can lead to multiple births." Who's paying for this? In the end, you and I are paying for it. She's a Welfare Queen 2.0. < / RANT OFF >

The Geek Perspective

So I've thought about writing a blog entry about (Jon + Kate) + 8, because in my geek perspective what makes it interesting is the equation, and how you'd express that equation on the internet.

Math Markup Language - MathML

Instead of using HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), you write equations on the web using MathML, or MML (Math Markup Language). You've probably noticed a variety of web page file types - HTM, HTML, ASP (Active Server Pages), CFML (Cold Fusion Markup Language), XML (extensible markup language). Now you've got MML, Math Markup Language.

Math Markup Language allows us to present formulas in webpages such as:

and there's really no way to do it otherwise, except by cheating and making images that look like you want the output to be. One problem with that is that images aren't searchable.

So I wrote up a cool MathML page to demonstrate what's going on with the Mr. and Mrs. Gosselin drama, and I figured I'd use that as entree to a cool blog post about MML, and then I got stopped in my tracks because I couldn't get the MathML section to display inside of Blogger / Blogspot.

Here's a graphic, a screen capture, of what the newest equation in MML looks like in a browser window--

MathML needs to be within an XHTML document, and I can't figure out how to get Blogger/ Blogspot to publish XHTML. I thought I could hack it by using an IFRAME, and placing the XHTML file into the IFRAME, but it wouldn't work. Any help out there?

Success! 7:46 pm

Thanks to Bob M's comment (below) and his link to the MathML Blog, and a susequent link to Peter Jipson's Ascii-MathML via Javascript work, it looks like it's successful. (Good in Opera and Firefox. IE and Chrome need a plug-in {which is a philosophical issue for me}. No luck in Safari. )

Here's a MathML depiction of the new formula, presented in an IFRAME.
You'll see that it's pure, HTML-rendered text and not an image.

My sincere thanks to Bob Mathews, Dr. Dayal D. Purohit, and Dr. Peter Jipson for their informed advice and elegant solutions.

Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Divide By Two Equals Five

Divorce: that's the newest equation, released Friday to build peak buzz over the weekend, just in time for Monday's show. These folks sure now how to run a narrative arc, but it seems like they're rushing it. I'm not sure they're going to be able to sustain it until the kids go to college. Of course, once the kids learn how to Google their parents, all bets are off anyway.

If anybody's got further advice on using MathML within Blogger, I'd sure appreciate hearing from you.

In the Beginning, there was the Loud Family.

Anyway, back to Mr. and Mrs. Gosselin. Reverting to my ongoing theme that there's very little new under the sun (VLNUS), I'd like to mention the PBS television documentary, An American Family, in which the Loud family - Bill and Pat, and their children Lance, Kevin, Grant, Delila, and Michele - opened their homes and their lives to the television audience. They were on the cover of magazines. There was considerable controversy, and the family seems to have suffered from the show. Bill and Pat divorced. I remember thinking, "Why would people do this to themselves?" The series "An American Family" was America's first reality TV show. The genre hasn't evolved much. Neither has the species.


Bob Mathews said...

Here's one guy who's done it, and this post explains how he did it in Blogger:

Gottfried said...

Perhaps Jon and Kate plus 8, like 4 x 4, was meant to remain as merely a mathematical expression. Or maybe the the Bureau for Rhyming Titles (BRT) didn't have math in mind at all. Or maybe it really is 10 and 16 (= 26). Cheers.

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