Sunday, 17 February 2013

S4.132 - Step Aside

ParaB threw open the trap door of the gazebo and strode out purposefully. Sine, Cosecant and QT barely noticed the arrival; for her part, Hevvi merely batted her eyelashes at the bunny girl. Though her composure changed a bit when the conic relation didn't slow in her approach. "Uh, who's your friend?" she asked, taking a half step back.

QT turned her head. "Oh, that's ParaB. She's almost as dreamy as you are, 'Evvi. Though I guess I haven't gone as far with you yet..."

"As far with... uh oh," the two-toned function said, adjusting her glasses and actively backpedalling. "Ladies, form a wall to protect me, please!"


Dutifully, Sine, Cosecant and QT moved forwards to stand in front of Hevvi. ParaB halted an equal distance from them on the other side, placing her hands on her hips. "Just WHAT is going on out here then?!"

"We've encountered a new form of life," Sine said excitedly. "She calls herself a step function!"

"Heaviside, to be exact, but call her 'Evvi. With a silent H," Cosecant added with a smile. Her hands clasped together. "Isn't she just so dreamy?"

"No," ParaB said, her lips thinning.  "Et tu, QT?"

A conflicted look appeared on the blonde's face. "I... uh... I..."

"Oh, don't blame any of them," Hevvi said airily from behind the trio.  "I'm a turn on for all SORTS of functions. Can't help it, it's simply in my nature. Which is why I'm puzzled by your resistance."

"Well, there's your problem," ParaB countered. She smiled a bit evilly. "I'm NOT a function." With that, she reached up towards her vertex tiara.



  1. I never knew it was called the Heaviside function. Did TS Eliot inspire that?

    1. Um, I have no idea... pretty sure it's named after Oliver Heaviside. What did you call it before knowing it was "Heaviside"? I ask because I don't think I even knew it existed until I was researching step functions... or if I did know in university, I subsequently forgot.

    2. Ah, I thought of Eliot because I think there's a line in Cats that uses that word. I always called it the step or greatest integer function. It returns the greatest integer that is greater than or equal to the argument.

    3. Hold up. If I enter the argument 5.5, the greatest integer greater than that is... well, over two billion. Do you mean the CLOSEST integer that is greater than or equal to? If so, that's the ceiling function (which would return 6). There's also the floor function, which effectively lops off any decimals. In my serial, both of those are handled by... well, a character who hasn't actually appeared yet.

      The Heaviside function is basically a way to "turn on" other functions. You could have the heaviside function begin the quadratic function at 3, for example. Your graph would look like nothing from negative infinity up until 3, at which point the graph would leap up from the x-axis to the value 9, and continue to curve like a normal parabola off to infinity. Unless I've wildly misinterpreted something.

      I figured the power of Heaviside would not be so useful against something that's not a function, because when you reach the value 3 you have to simultaneously jump up, down, and sideways. I also don't know from Cats.