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On Thu, 21 Sep 2000, H. S. Teoh wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 21, 2000 at 12:33:05PM -0700, Marcus Smith wrote:
> [snip]
> > Who ever heard of a negative number?  That just means you have a positive
> > number in the other direction.  You don't have -2 bowls, you owe others 2
> > bowls.
> [snip]
>
> I know this is meant as a joke, but HEY, this is a REVOLUTIONARY idea!!
> Negative numbers are just numbers in the other direction. So why limit it
> to only two directions? You can have arbitrarily many directions between
> these two. So now you have the integral complex numbers!!! This will be
> SUCH a cool idea... a culture that doesn't understand negative numbers but
> understands complex numbers! :-)

<puzzled look>  A flock of geese, a herd of horses, a murder of crows...I
suspect it isn't *that* revolutionary, though it is in some sense neat.
You could consider things like "flocks" and "herds" isomorphic to
integral, independent vector subspaces.
In your example, any vector space isomorphic to the complex plane, like
Euclidean two-space, would do just fine.  :-p

And what does it mean to "understand" negative numbers?  Or to
"understand" complex numbers?  This isn't a trivial question!  <G>

And in physics, negative acceleration = deceleration.

YHL the math major, alas