So, as part of my possibly-continuing "Geometry on Drugs" series, here is a prequel to my post on spherical geometry, which was more of a "hey, this is useful" post in which much there's a whole lot you're expected to take on faith. It was really more intended for the hardcore engineering type who needs to see that use case up front.
This version is going back to first principles, where we do the axiom wanking and you (hopefully) get a sense of why things turn out the way they do.
Also, this is the practice run before I launch into the Essence of Hyperbolic Geometry, so, … Onward …
The Geometry Axiom Everybody Hates
Start with this diagram and the inevitable question that comes up:
Start with a line ℓ and a point A not on it. How do you put a line through A that doesn't intersect ℓ?
(In other news, I am now convinced that the Unicode committee contained at least one disgruntled geometry teacher. How else to explain why there's this isolated script ℓ code point?)
We can drop a perpendicular from A meeting ℓ at some point X, and then it's obvious that the line you want (dotted) is the one perpendicular to XA. If you tilt it even slightly away from 90°, then it simply must intersect ℓ somewhere.
Proof by diagram. We're allowed to do that, right? ( Read more...Collapse )
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