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Ed Wall
Posts:
837
Registered:
12/3/04


Re: 2 simple? questions and proposed answers
Posted:
Jan 6, 2012 3:47 PM


In a sense the business about 1 being a prime is a matter of convention (yes, it does make it easier to state some theorems). So, I would say people who are unaware of the messiness it would cause are probably right to be unimpressed.
As to multiplication of signed integers, I think saying the distribute rule has problems if not is, in fact, somewhat unconvincing (although, in a sense, what I say below is connected). Something a bit more convincing I've found (assuming people are comfortable with (a)(b) = (ab) [And this can be handled in a similar fashion] is simply something like
3 x 3 = 9 2 x 3 = 6 1 x 3 = 3 0 x 3 = 0 1 x 3 = ?
Of course, mathematically the reason is that the integers are an extension of the counting numbers and hence your comment about the distributive law. The above just makes the structure a little more obvious.



