Find that symbol

August 10th, 2009  |  Tags: , ,  |  Leave a comment

Detexify2 is a neat web application that lets you draw a mathematical or logic symbol with your mouse and then it will tell you how to make that symbol in TeX or LaTeX. (It learns from other users’ inputs.) So if you’re a LaTeX user who can never remember how to make a turnstile (vdash) or a definition symbol (triangleq), then this is probably useful for you. I suspect it would also be useful for identifying some name for an unfamiliar symbol even if you have no intention of using it in a LaTeX document.

(Via Geoff Washburn.)

  • Do you need a quick reference card for all of the symbols included in the LaTeX pifont package? Well, someone might, anyway: share and enjoy.



August 5th, 2008  |  Tags: , ,  |  3 Comments


“μ” as “micro:” I added a link to my twitter feed to the top of the page here in case any readers enjoy this site but think that weblog posts are typically too carefully crafted and coherent. If I know you and you’re on twitter, send a follow request!

“μ” as a lowercase Greek letter: I will get in trouble with Andrea if I admit how long I spent trying to typeset some Polytonic Greek in LaTeX today, so I won’t. I should just say that, if dissertations are to be judged by the epigraph typography at the beginning of chapters, then I am surely in line for several prestigious awards. I should also say that this is what eventually worked, for those of you who might have to do something similar and are finding this page via Google:

  1. Add this to your preamble:
  2. Then you can simply input your text, in Unicode, as an argument to the \greektext macro.

Oddly, this is one area in which HTML beats LaTeX. In HTML, I can just type the Unicode in, and it works (if your computing environment is sufficiently modern):

οὐ γὰρ μήποτε τοῦτο δαμῇ εἶναι μὴ ἐόντα·
ἀλλὰ σὺ τῆσδ’ ἀφ’ ὁδοῦ διζήσιός εἶργε νόημα.

(Special recognition to the first reader to say something smart about this quotation.)

Music notes

I’ve had a terrible time with earworm lately.

This morning, I had Busoni’s setting of Goethe’s “Flohlied” stuck in my head. Right before lunch, it was replaced by Tag Team’s “Whoomp! There it is!” Later in the afternoon, it was Fugazi’s “Arpeggiator.” None of these has been particularly conducive to accomplishing anything requiring any concentration; also, I feel like I’m permanently listening to some terrible first-semester college-radio DJ.

Jam on it

Wikiquote has a long way to go before it is comparable to Bartlett’s. I found one detail of Wikiquote’s genesis pretty bizarre: when it was first established in 2003, it lived on, which is the Wolof-language Wikipedia site. It was there for two weeks. I bet that a lot of Wolof speakers were totally perplexed when their community-edited encyclopedia resource was replaced with a bunch of English-language quips from Homer Simpson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and various minor characters from the Star Wars universe.

I feel bad about my shortage of recent prescriptions, so here’s a policy idea to improve undergraduate education in the United States: Assure undergrads that, yes, it is all right to use Wikipedia — as long as they only use Wolof Wikipedia. (I learned something new from my visit: Apparently, “Soppi” is Wolof for “edit.”)


Unicode: Nerdtacular bumper sticker.

Wikipedia snark: Wikipedia’s lamest edit wars, Why Wikipedia is almost comically awesome.

Wolof: “Senegal Champions of Africa,” by the Black Seeds. Seriously, download this song.