I drew the Earthling symbol for nothingness.

If you found this site by searching the Web for the phrase, “I drew the Earthling symbol for nothingness,” please post a comment explaining what you are seeking.  I am fascinated.  This phrase turns up at least once a week, sometimes several times a day, in the list of search terms that have brought people to The Earthling’s Handbook.

It makes me wish I knew the Earthling symbol for nothingness so I could draw it for you.  I mean, I’d like to be helpful, and of course I’ve tried searching the Web for this phrase myself out of curiosity, but I find that many of my pages are among the top hits, and none of the others look helpful.

I’m sorry to tell you that Earthlings use many different sets of symbols and have no agreement on a universal symbology.  But most Earthlings now recognize the concept of zero, which means basically the same thing as nothingness.  It is easy to draw and is even available on most Earth keyboards:

0

 

Does that help at all?

One of the interesting things about editing The Earthling’s Handbook is seeing what people want to know about Earthlings.  “What do Earthlings eat?” is a question I can answer.  I hope to be a helpful resource to alien zookeepers.  But I am mystified by all these searchers who have drawn the Earthling symbol for nothingness and now want to find–what?

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About 'Becca
author of The Earthling's Handbook, about the environment, parenting, cooking, and more!

8 Responses to I drew the Earthling symbol for nothingness.

  1. Charlene says:

    As a mathematician (or at least somebody who used to be one in a former life), I have to disagree about “zero” standing for “nothingness”. The two behave in vastly different ways. “Nothing” is the “null set”. “Zero” is a number that is neither positive nor negative.

    Not that it makes any difference to most people. Abstract math generally has very little relation to real life. 😉

    • 'Becca says:

      Well, thanks for making that point anyway! I do know the difference between zero and the null set and thought about saying something about it in this article, but I couldn’t figure out how to get WordPress to display the right symbol. Luckily, elsewhere on the Internet are explanations of the null set, like this one:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_set

      • Charlene says:

        Whoops, my memory wasn’t quite right; “nothing” is the *empty* set, which is only one of many *null* sets.

        And I guess WordPress figures most earthlings don’t need the symbols for obscure mathematical concepts.

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  3. Dave W. says:

    Becca,
    You may have already come across this, but it appears that people may be seeking for the source of a Vonnegut quote from Breakfast of Champions: http://books.google.com/books?id=0LdtxoCQxOoC&pg=PA211&lpg=PA211&dq=breakfast+of+champions+earthling+symbol&source=bl&ots=HXQ11-b3hs&sig=ccG6E9KTNSMe1mZ2ToKholTm2DM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=73XoT-GmCtHF0AGf2ZWMCg&sqi=2&ved=0CFQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Hope that helps! Dave W.

    • 'Becca says:

      Aha! That’s got to be it! Some of the searches have had a few extra words: “I drew the earthling symbol for nothingness which was this” and that matches the quote! Thanks for the enlightenment, Dave!

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