# Reading the Comics, July 16, 2022: Brevity is the Soul of Wit Edition

Once more Comic Strip Master Command shows great parsimony with its mathematics-themed comic strips. The one with most substance to it is Dan Thompson’s Brevity, and even that’s not one I can talk about at length. Watch me try, anyway.

Dan Thompson’s Brevity for the 11th of July is the anthropomorphic numerals-and-symbols joke for the week. And it correctly identifies + as representing the addition operator. I talked about operators for the 2019 A-to-Z, though my focus there was on functions of functions. Here, we’ve just got a binary operator, taking two integers (or real numbers) and, if we follow its rule, matching this pair with an integer (or real number). Well, we can embed the integers (or real numbers) in the space of functions, if we want.

It happens that “smooth” is also a term of mathematical art. It refers to a function that you can take enough derivatives of. “Enough” here depends on our use. Depending on what our work is, we might need anything from one derivative to infinitely many derivatives. I’m not sure that I would call the ordinary arithmetic-type addition operator “smooth”. But I’m not confident in saying it’s not.

Greg Cravens’s The Buckets for the 12th of July is more wordplay than mathematics play. I’m including it because I like the playful energy of the comic strip and want more people to notice it. I like the idea of calling such an assembled doll a fraction figure, though.

Tony Rubino and Gary Markstein’s Daddy’s Home for the 14th of July is your usual story problem setup. It’s a standard enough insult joke, although it does use the mathematics content. There aren’t a lot of spelling questions that would let you set up an ambiguous “how many are left” joke. Maybe an English class.

This takes us through the middle of July, as these go. All my Reading the Comics posts should be at this link,. Will there be more comics for next week? I have my suspicions.

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## Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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