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Topic: Permutation Groups
Replies: 13   Last Post: Feb 2, 2004 2:54 AM

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Jeremy Boden

Posts: 1,313
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Weird usage of "unique" (was something else)
Posted: Oct 11, 1999 3:55 PM
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In article <Pine.LNX.4.10.9910111157180.22988-100000@titania.math.ukans.
edu>, Fred Galvin <galvin@math.ukans.edu> writes
>On Sun, 10 Oct 1999, Chuck Cadman wrote:
>

>> Given the fact that any permutation can be expressed as a product of
>> disjoint cycles, it's easy to show that the only elements of order 5 are
>> 5-cycles (since 5 is prime). So you just need to count the number of ways
>> that you can choose 5 distinct numbers between 1 and 7 and multiply by the
>> number of unique 5-cycles that you can obtain from any such collection. I
>> think it's 7!/10.

>
>That's the right answer to the original question, but what the hell are
>"unique 5-cycles"? If they were really unique, their number would have to
>be 1, wouldn't it?
>
>This bizarre misuse of the word "unique" (to mean "different" or
>"distinguishable") seems to be a fad. How did this get started, and how
>can we eradicate it?
>

Expressions such as "most unique" etc are Americanisms.

--
Jeremy Boden







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