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It is assumed that most readers know what the term interest used in the title of this article refers to. So this article will focus on the term points used in the title. This title is significant because it heads the list of links in the right column of this website, “Points of Interest.”
Points are diverse. According to American Heritage, a point can be dimensionless, which amounts to almost nothing at all. But the word point can also refer to a sharp tip, a sharp-tipped object, a jutting land mass, a dot, a period, a decimal, a location in space, a moment in time, a limit, a key aspect, a positive aspect, a good idea, a unit of measure, a stance, an electrical connection, or a musical phrase.
And the above are just the nouns. There are verb meanings for point as well. Then there’s also point estimation, point defects, pointblank, point lace, point man, point system, point of view, point of order, point-of-sale, point of honor, point of accumulation and, coming to the end of this vast list, we have now, of course, reached the point of no return. With this many meanings for a single word, it is a wonder we can communicate.
One has to flip through the dictionary for quite a long time before coming to a word that has as many meanings as the word point. According to American Heritage, Second College Edition, the definition of interest here is number 21 of 34, and refers simply to a single article, or less ambiguously, a single item. So the items listed under the web-page column titled, “Points of Interest” are not on any specific topic. But the web designer thinks the odds are high that most readers will find these points of interest. This list may change somewhat over time.
The odds are also good that when one finds a word that applies as broadly as the word point, including in mathematics, one has also arrived at a term applicable to systems in general. After all, mathematics is broadly applicable and can be used to describe just about anything. It is the universal language. So this is an interesting point to keep in mind regarding the general nature of systems.
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