# Walk like a duck

When Emil Mazey, secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers at a labor meeting in 1946 raised, pointed at someone accusing him of being a communist, he said: “I can’t prove you are a Communist. But when I see a bird that quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, has feathers and webbed feet, and associates with ducks — I’m certainly going to assume that he is a duck.”

Emil used a form of reasoning in which it is necessary to investigate an unknown problem by observing similar characteristics that occur in other cases. It’s called the duck test.

Let’s say that integers have values and functions also. Integers are sold as actions, for instance, sums. Also, you can throw them with dice. What are you going to conclude?

Are numbers objects or arrows, behavior or data?

Normally numbers are objects, the element of a set N ={ …-1,0,1,2,3…}.

But a number is also a morphism, for instance, the number one: 1 -> 1.

Neumann showed that each ordinal is the well-ordered set of all smaller ordinals.

0 = { } = ∅

1 = { 0 } = {∅}

2 = { 0, 1 } = { ∅, {∅} }

3 = { 0, 1, 2 } = { ∅, {∅} , {∅, {∅}} }

4 = { 0, 1, 2, 3 } = { ∅, {∅} , {∅, {∅}}, {∅, {∅}, {∅, {∅}}} }

But even if “most mathematicians prove what they can, von Neumann proves what he wants,” (1) he could not see the most generic abstraction of category theory.

The most interesting application of monoid does not relate only to numbers (int, long, short, byte) but string(s).

A “string” represents texts as a sequence of UTF-16 code units, so it’s a sequential collection of characters.

For instance, in C#:

`char[] chars = { 'w', 'o', 'r', 'd' };sbyte[] bytes = { 0x41, 0x42, 0x43, 0x44, 0x45, 0x00 };string stringFromBytes = null;string stringFromChars = null;unsafe{   fixed (sbyte* pbytes = bytes)   {      // Create a string from a pointer to a signed byte array.      stringFromBytes = new string(pbytes);   }   fixed (char* pchars = chars)   {      // Create a string from a pointer to a character array.      stringFromChars = new string(pchars);   } }`

In F# we can use a module to represent a monoid.

`namespace Mahamudra.Functionsopen Systemmodule Monoid =     /// the identity arrow    let identity = String.Empty     /// composition law    let ( >> ) α β = α + βmodule Test =    open Monoid     let string = "yup"     /// is the identity satisfied?    printfn "Is the string %A >> with identity %A equal to the string itself %A" string  identity (string >> identity)        /// associative law    let α = "this is "    let β = "a "    let γ = "sentence "    printfn "α=%A, β=%A, γ=%A // (α >> β) >> γ = α >> (β >> γ) %A >> %A = %A >> %A // %A=%A"  α β γ (α>>β) γ α (β>>γ)  ((α>>β)>>γ) (α>>(β>>γ))`

And finally the output:

Is the string yup >> with identity equal to the string itself yup

α=this is , β=a , γ=sentence // (α >> β) >> γ = α >> (β >> γ) this is a >> sentence = this is >> a sentence // this is a sentence =this is a sentence

A complete non sequitur being.

## More from Mauro Ghiani

A complete non sequitur being.