Message 2004-06-0032: Re: Yet one more proposal for a shorthand notation, and for an addition to Rec. 11A

Wed, 16 Jun 2004 16:07:01 +0100

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Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 16:07:01 +0100
From: Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com>
To: mightyodinn@yahoo.com
Cc: phylocode@ouvaxa.cats.ohiou.edu
Subject: Re: Yet one more proposal for a shorthand notation, and for an addition to Rec. 11A

> Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 07:26:38 -0700 (PDT)
> From: "T. Michael Keesey" <mightyodinn@yahoo.com>
> 
> > "{}" used instead of "Clade()" because it's shorter, already used
> > on a few websites, language-free, and avoids confusion with the
> > method to write a tree -- (A + (B + C))).
> 
> I don't know if it's desirable, at least in this case, that it be
> language-free. The PhyloCode may come to cover several types of
> taxa, not just clades. The currently proposed format is
> appropriately simlar to a mathermatical or computer-language
> function, and you could use it for other types of taxa as well,
> e.g. species(CM 9380).

I take your point, but Clade(this), Clade(that) and Clade(the other)
gets ugly pretty quickly.  What I've seen in various papers is that
the word just gets quietly dropped, and the definition is written as
(A+B).  Which I am also not wild about.

> > "+" used instead of "and" because it's shorter, in widespread use
> > (abstract booklet!) and language-free.
> 
> This does make sense to me.

To me, too.

> I have never heard of anyone using "#" for "not" -- I can't see how this would
> be intuitive at all.

No, it seems bizarre to me.  If we want symbols to use for negation,
then "", "~", "-" and "!" all seem like stronger candidates to me.

> I thought that "<--", whether ugly or not, clearly communicated what
> it meant.

It would do, had different publications not used (A <-- B) and (A > B)
to mean the same thing!

> Furthermore, most extended fonts have a more elegant verison of it
> (which may or may not show up correctly for everyone): &#8592;

All things being equal, I think it would be pragmatically desirable to
limit clade definition notation to common US-ASCII characters, which
are very widely (universally?) supported.

> > Apomorphy-based:
> > {M in A (+ B, C...)}
> > "in" used because symbols would be somewhat hard to find and would be poorly
> > known; "in" is Latin, English, German and more, so some internationality is
> > retained this way.
> >         (Apomorphy-based definitions with a node-based clade as a
> > specifier are potentially self-destructive.)
> 
> Sounds good to me.

... though not as good as having all apomorphy-based clades
self-destruct immediately.

 _/|_	 _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@indexdata.com>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Omit needless words" -- Strunk & White.

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