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hans aberg (wouldn't you know) writes:

> If one carries out your argument, then there should be no math environment.

here we go again.

we _can't_ do without a maths environment, because tex is coded in
such a way that it's as near absolutely essential as makes no
difference.

> If one leaves numbers out in a text mode, then those that want to use
> numbers will have to do some additional markup, be it "math" or "phone" or
> whatever.

having markup to encase digits in text is often useful; i agree.
phone numbers are a case in point.

however, i would fight hard indeed against your crazy suggestion that
we need to mark up (for example) quantities written numerically

 "... there are between three and \mathematicalnumber{20} of these
      creatures, according to the time of day..."

complete lunacy, imo.

robin