Wednesday, May 18, 2011

There's something wrong with that Venn diagram. There's something wrong with that Venn diagram! I'm sorry, I don't mean to get all hung up on the Venn diagram; I realize it's just a totally random diagram meant to humorously and none-to-rigorously illustrate the many ways in which school bathrooms fail us! But...there's something wrong with it. I can't put my finger on it; the finger slips - as if from a missing latch.

Okay, I think it's this: the two sections that say "Doesn't latch" and "No toilet paper." For everything outside the set "Has a working latch," we have to be able to assume "Doesn't latch" applies. That's just a consequence of falling outside that set. Just as everything outside the set"Has Toilet Paper" should logically have "No Toilet Paper."

In other words, "Doesn't latch" can't apply just to that small section marked "Doesn't latch" - it applies to everything outside the latch set. The entire circle representing the set "Has Toilet Paper" and the entire circle representing the set "Doesn't smell horrible" do not latch - except for the small portion of each set where there is intersection with "Has a working latch."

The section that says "Smells REALLY bad" of course poses no problem. Even if everything outside the set "Doesn't smell horrible" must therefore smell horrible, we can suppose the "Smells REALLY bad" intersection smells even worse than its horrible-smelling near neighbors. True, one might logically question why the intersection of "Has toilet paper" and "Has a working latch" must necessarily produce a worse smell, but we're talking about restrooms, here. I think we need to make some allowances for Murphy's Law were diagrammatic convention and the sets-as-defined don't specifically exclude the possibility.

All of that is by way of irrelevant aside. I'm interested in cynicism, and I look forward to learning more about it!