Google Doodle circles creator of Venn diagram

Google celebrates the 180th birthday of John Venn, the man responsible for so many fascinating PowerPoint diagrams.

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No, it wasn't invented by Sean Venn. Google screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You've sat in so many meetings where Microsoft PowerPoint presentations have revealed unexpected truths. The presenter makes you marvel as she shows how the circle marked "profit" overlaps with the circle marked "firing people" and creates a halo of joy.

These overlapping circles are known as Venn diagrams and are celebrated Monday in a Google Doodle. Creator John Venn, had he kept breathing to see the world circle for many more years, would have been 180 today.

Venn was an English philosopher who bathed in logic. He referred to his invention as "Eulerian Circles."

He first posited their use in a paper called "On the Diagrammatic and Mechanical Representation of Propositions and Reasonings," and the germ of a million fascinating infographics was born.

The more people looked at the world's data, the more they saw commonalities and the more they extrapolated on what might be done with those commonalities. Not that these solutions were necessarily useful.

Google's doodle, however, is an interactive delight. It invites you to pick different circles and rejoice in their commonalities. For example, select "Mammals" for one circle and "Tiny" for the the other and a mouse is displayed in the overlapping section. Oddly, "Google" and "Follows You Everywhere And Pokes Its Nose Into Everything" are not among the options.

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