On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 17:31:45 -0500, Ray Denenberg wrote
> Anyway, you are suggesting to merge 'unknown' and 'uncertain', on the basis
> that 'unknown' isn't really "unknown" in the sense that 199u is really "one of
> [1990, 1991, [UTF-8?]…., 1999]" so it is a case of 'uncertain', and in fact
> both can be represented by a range (as we define range in the message I
> I think this is a reasonable suggestion. (I am fairly confident that the
"odd" cases, like '1u99' are not real requirements.) I am quite willing to do
this (if nobody objects).
I, for one, do object. I don't think we should confuse precisions with
ranges set in a higher precision.
196u (aka. the 1950s) is readable (and repeatable) by decade.
[1950-1959] might refer also to the 1950s but its clearly readable by year
but only repeatable by decade.
Using the instrumentation analogy:
In instrumentation digital devices tend often to provide much higher levels
of readability than repeatability or accuracy. Analog devices, on the other
hand, often tend to provide less readability but matching repeatability.
Imagine two thermometers. One glass filled with mercury and markings
- 00, 10, 20, 30, 50, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 each 1mm apart from another
and the other electronic with a 2-digit display but repeatable to only 10
The first thermometer is readable to only 10 degrees.
The second thermometer is readable to 1 degree.
A bath is measured. The glass thermometer returns the readings:
30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30
(mercury thermometers offer excellent repeatability)
Reading the thermometer I see it looks like a tick above 30 but not really
discernible. Clearly not, however, 40.
The electronic thermometer returns the readings:
33, 39, 31, 35, 38, 32, 30, 37, 39, 34
(electronic devices tend to drift and have non-linearity resulting in better
readability than repeatability)
Using ranges it delivered: [30-39]
While these may seem effectively "the same" I think they are telling
different stories: the decade of the 1950s and the range [1950-1959].
Applying now the approximate predicate I can see even different conclusions
potentially being drawn..
> As to the suggestion that 'approximate' and 'questionable' might be merged,
> I am less comfortable. Your interpretation is '"questionable" is more vague
> than "approximate"', but I see a more qualitative difference. The cataloger
> has some evidence that the event may have taken place in the year 1150, but no
> evidence of any other year and if it wasn't 1150 it could have been - who
> knows ? Maybe as late as 1830, or even later. One must not infer an
> approximation, that it it wasn't 1150 then it was sometime close to 1150.
> That's a case of '1150?' (questionable). Is that not a meaningful distinction?
I wholly agree. We have a number of dates that we assume for things but are
widely accepted as questionable. I gave, for example, the biblical Great
Flood. There are also dates that are accepted as disputed--- but without any
alternative suggestion. Antisa Khvichava, for example, is a Georgian woman who
claims as her date of birth 8 July 1880 making her 130 years old. This date
is, however, highly disputed. Its suspected that her birth records were
either mis-recorded or falsified. Some have even suggested that she might be
20 to 30 years younger than her claim. 1880-07-08 is the only date we have.
Its hardly approximate. It might be her date of birth but she might have been
born in 1900 or that matter her birthday might not have even been in July or
the 8th--- another source of error is the observation that Russia until 1918
used a variant of the Julian calendar.
Edward C. Zimmermann, NONMONOTONIC LAB
Basis Systeme netzwerk, Munich Ges. des buergerl. Rechts
Office Leo (R&D):
Leopoldstrasse 53-55, D-80802 Munich,
Federal Republic of Germany