Why the author can’t tell if sine curves are crap

Debunking Why sine curves and geometry are crap

As far as I’m concerned, sine curves and geometry are crap.

The personal anecdote which follows this initial, rather self-serving and arrogant statement is irrelevant dear reader; the author’s personal inability to understand geometry has absolutely nothing to do with computer programming and his personal issues with a mathematics teacher some three decades ago is, similarly, well beyond the scope of his alleged topic.

Recently, TMR of the blog C64 Crap Debunk has claimed in his post “Release Notes – Clonemas” https://c64crapdebunk.wordpress.com/2015/12/25/release-notes-clonemas/ that sine curves are easy to understand and that people can somehow use them by drawing them on a computer screen or graph paper, without doing any maths at all.

Except that the author simply hasn’t read what your correspondent wrote properly. Yet again. The first part was that sine curves aren’t complex beasts and it doesn’t take much more than a little reading and some experimentation to work out what they can do or how to use them. The second part was your correspondent offering an alternative method to create a similar effect for those who struggle with mathematics like the author does, but that doesn’t make the result a sine curve.

After this, I did an Internet search to see if I could find out what a sine curve is (instead of just what it looks like) and how to use it. At the top of the results it gave the definition as “a curve representing periodic oscillations of constant amplitude as given by a sine function”. I realised that I had no real idea what this meant, especially due to the description containing the words “oscillations” and “constant” which seem to be almost opposite to each other.

In that description the word “constant” is applied to the “amplitude” and not the “oscillations” so the “issue” being flagged by the author doesn’t actually exist as long as the words aren’t taken out of context as he’s done above. We’ll have to note as well that it’s almost as if the author was deliberately searching for definitions that he didn’t understand as well, because your correspondent put the term “sine curve” into three popular search engines and the Wikipedia entry came out at the top for two and in second place on the third[1] – that entry also notes that, along with mathematics, sine waves are often used in physics, engineering, signal processing and many other fields.[2]

In fact that’s the issue here; the author also states that he doesn’t “understand what a sine curve is, let alone how to use one” and that means he also isn’t equipped to understand where they’re used or what purposes they’re put to either.

These flour waveforms are also used by the Commodore 64’s SID chip, but of course the Commodore manuals and third party books I got didn’t explain how to use them.

And here comes the hypocrisy again dear reader; one minute they’re “crap” merely because the author says so, but the next it’s an issue if said “crap” isn’t covered to the author’s uneducated satisfaction in the C64’s first and third party documentation. And as noted above, if he doesn’t “understand what a sine curve is”, he isn’t able to tell if those books are covering the subject adequately to be commenting.

Your correspondent does wonder however if there’s a wholeweat “flour waveform” or if any are self raising…?

Since leaving school, I’ve never found that I needed to use geometry at all except the very simple task of measuring a flat I’m viewing, then multiply two figures together to get the total area for each room.

So the author has recently used geometry and, more importantly, considered what he did to be simple. This sentence essentially debunks itself and much of what comes beforehand since it’s essentially a contradiction, but we can also pause to note that people such as builders, carpenters, joiners, carpet layers, estate agents designers and those in many other trades do what the author describes and far more on a daily basis so the need for geometry in everyday life is, for some people at least, remarkably prevalent; the author’s blinkered ramblings about the obsolescence of Latin are completely irrelevant too because it isn’t in regular use when geometry, demonstrably, is still required even by the author himself on occasion.

At the end of the day, not everyone is good at the same things. The problem is when people like teachers say that everyone must be able to do something in particular, in this case geometry.

And yet the author has very hypocritically chided your correspondent for being monolingual in the past.

[1] The first result in that third case was an arhived version of a BBC Bitesize page which doesn’t start from first principles since it’s meant for revision but actually explains things quite well. Your correspondent also did a quick search on the quoted text and it seems to at least originate from the Oxford Dictionaries website; the author said he was trying to figure out “how to use” a sine curve but a dictionary definition won’t help with that any more than looking up flower arranging on said website would be of use when creating an attractive arrangement for the kitchen table.

[2] Using sine curves to make sprites move smoothly around the screen on a computer is a frivolous use of them, but nobody claimed otherwise; the author is writing post after pointless post about his personal hatred of BASIC V2 decades after anybody with a vested interest stopped caring so his writings aren’t “necessary or useful” either by that logic. The sprite movements are at least entertaining.

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