LaTeX is Leslie Lamport's amazing macro package for Donald Knuth's amazing typesetting system TeX. It provides more high-level commands for dealing with documents, producing standard layouts for title pages, books, articles, letters, etc, while still allowing low-level control with TeX commands.

1.

I'm free falling over that precipice which separates
timid-rosy-sweet candy and candlelight-flowers-tingling crush

from that raw wide open valley below named
nipple biting-back scratching-legs swinging- mound bumping passion.

And I stop.
Yeah, right there, I stop & sit back. Breathe in deep.

& mercilessly put myself through a pathetic debate.
I ask myself:

    Death or Life?

Pungent, sweat drenched flesh
or Latex?
Licking, salty, screaming, pumping sticky flesh?
or Latex?
Dripping crimson pussy lips flowers parting in time-lapse photography
extreme close up?
or Latex?
Death or Life?

& I'm a 100% fully certified, FDA inspected, Grade A, unabashed
hedonist
.
So, I have to choose. & well life always wins. But, I get really sticky
itchy up under the collar about this. I mean, who's getting all the action
out there?

Latex.

2.

Latex is getting more sex than
President Clinton;

    more sex than
the entire budget of the Pentagon
    more sex than
abortion clinics have vicious right wing lunatics outside of them;
    more sex than
the internet has users
all combined.

& I begin to think Latex might be totally dependent on people
but all in all, latex has got it all under control.

3.

Nobody discriminates against latex.
Nobody doesn't want latex in their neighborhood.
Nobody calls all the little offspring of condoms bad names.
Latex is always out of the closet on the job.
Latex is popular. Everyone says kind things about latex.

& latex gets a free ride to all of the fun political rallies
& fundraisers and parties. & latex never has to pay a cover charge
to get into a bar or worry about dancing with a member of the same sex.
Latex is gender neutral!
Everyone loves latex.

& you know what? That little bit of shaped, stamped, pressed solidified
sap from the rubber trees gets to have a whole lot more fun than we do.

In fact, in my next life, I have been affirming that I want to be
reincarnated
as one of those Safe Sex Kits advertised in On Our Backs. I mean,
don't you?

4.

Latex gets to feel everything, taste everything, touch everything,
rub up against everything
that we don't get to anymore. AND it gets to see things up close and
personal
that we don't even have the capacity to see the delectable, delightful
way

that latex gets view it. Wouldn't you like to
be there in the front row watching the g-spot inside of your partner
tighten

    & release
& tighten
    & relax
& tighten
    & balloon out
until suddenly it feels like your standing
under a waterfall in the Fiji Islands?

Latex does. It even gets to feel both partners at the same time.

5.

Think about being a latex glove.
Five fingers penetrating you simultaneously.
While those fingers are working and pushing
against the inside of your flimsy body,
on the outside, you're coated with rivers
of heavenly white cum like you're the ice cream
that just got dipped into the hot fudge at Dairy Queen.

Or maybe while the middle two fingers
wander the inside of a massive tender
pink-walled glistening cavern that
threatens to collapse at any minute
& then expands like a new exhibit at the Met
to display the rare unique individuality of a jeweled mushroom cervix
while thumb is busy scaling the slick boulder of a clitoris
like a freaked out mountain climber who just has to get to the top
so she can fall into the exhilarating rush of rapelling off the other side
again.
while pinkie & pointer saunter through that
tender smooth dip between outer labia
& the upward curve of a titillating rippled thigh

& if that's fun, just think what being a condom must feel like.

6.

Latex doesn't get jealous;
isn't insecure; never has a headache;
doesn't get yeast infections or bad days at work.
It's not dealing with any hard core recovery issues.
It doesn't discuss who's going to change the sheets.

It knows it's not going to do it.

It doesn't ask if it was good for you.
It doesn't not ask if it was good for you.
It doesn't care if it was good for you.
It was good for it.

By sheer default, latex has multiple partners without penalty or
negotiation.
It doesn't worry whether or not it will be respected in the morning.
It doesn't worry about being a slut because of a one night stand.
It doesn't sit by the phone waiting for a call that never comes.

It knows it's disposable. It just jumps right on in there
and grabs for the goodie bag. It doesn't care
that it'll get tossed out with the rest of the garbage in the
morning
.

7.

In next life, I'm going to be the entire contents of a Safe Sex Kit.
& after I've been a finger cot & a condom.
I'm going to be a beautiful blushing pink dental dam
fluttering my lust in the box. & some gorgeous Amazon
is going to look down into my little bed of treasures & I'll sigh,
"Choose me!" I'll say, "Use me! Lick me 'til I'm thin and weary.
Push against me with your tongue like a construction worker
with a pneumatic drill tearing up the highway of sex.
Push and pull with passion until I feel
like I'm going to tear wide open.
Just use me." & I won't worry

about the political ramifications of any of my behavior.


--Svaha (Her Divine Serenity)

LaTeX is often compared to Microsoft Word. But that comparison falls short. LaTeX can be used for a lot of different things when you install additional macro packages. With pdfscreen LaTeX substitutes PowerPoint. You can define slides and compile them to PDF. Your PDF presentation is playable in fullscreen mode on every computer with a Acrobat Reader. Fine if your company uses Linux instead of M$ products. With PPower4 you add FX to your presentation, e.g. stepwise building of text or transition FX. Another useful package for LaTeX is the exerquiz package (http://www.math.uakron.edu/~dpstory/webeq.html). With exerquiz it is possible to build a quiz in PDF with multiple choice questions, text questions, etc. But a lot of people start to use XML for their documents and then translate XML to LaTeX with XSLT. This way you can build professional layouted documents from nearly every XML source.

Yet another example of Webster being wrong--or rather incomplete.

Latex, strictly speaking, is more a state of matter than a thing. The word derives from the Latin for milk, and is used to describe a mixture of very small insoluble particles suspended in another liquid.

Milk, for example is a latex. It is a suspension of fat in water.

Latex paints are another example. They are similar to emulsion paints: a suspension of insoluble stuff (pigment) in water. They do not contain any natural rubber latex.

It is a common mistake to confuse "latex" with "natural rubber latex". The latter term has become almost synonymous with the former, but it is still important to make the distinction between the two.

Natural rubber latex (NRL for short) is indeed a latex, but it is not the only one.

The plural form of latex is latices (say it, "lay-tiss-eez")

LaTeX is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. You can use LaTeX for any form of publishing -- and I do -- but it does tend to be used for scientific publications of medium length and upwards, because this is where its biggest strengths lie.

Using LaTeX is more comparable to writing HTML or XML than to using a word processor; instead of directly editing your document on a WYSIWYG display, you edit a source file which is then compiled into another format for viewing and printing. Generally, this format is LaTeX's own DVI (DeVice Independent file), but postscript and PDF are easily produced too.

Why would I want to use it?

There are a number of advantages to using LaTeX. I will look at some of the main ones.

Mathematics
This is regularly seen as LaTeX's greatest strength. Its ability to typeset really good-looking complex mathematical formulae is beyond compare.
Separation of style and content
This one comes up a lot, but its effect is often underestimated. When you first learn to use LaTeX, you have to learn all these squiggly characters and funny commands and it looks like typing anything is going to be a real hassle. Once you actually get down and start typing something for real, though, you find that you can do so in LaTeX much easier and faster than in a word processor. This is because you can forget about style. LaTeX takes care of much of the formatting, and the rest you can play with later but once you're in flow, you can just keep typing; no need to worry about line-breaks, page-breaks, fonts and whatever.
LaTeX produced documents look really good
Seriously. You can slave away on Microsoft Word or Openoffice Writer for as long as you want and your document will not look as good as the report I just knocked out in LaTeX.
Absolute stability
LaTeX has been around for decades. TeX, the underlying technology, has been around for even longer. In fact, Donald K. Knuth halted all development on TeX a long time ago because there's nothing left to do. The are no bugs left! LaTeX may not always do what you think it should, but I have never ever known it to do something it actually shouldn't.
Classes and Packages
Want to do a presentation with transition effects and everything, like Powerpoint can? Have a look at the Prosper class. Writing a letter? Use the letter class. Reports, CVs, books, essays? Need to use Matrices, draw chemical diagrams? Music notation? All these things are done easily with the huge amounts of extra classes and packages that may be used with LaTeX. CTAN is a website (ctan.org) dedicated to the storage of many of these.

How to create a LaTeX document

LaTeX source files are plain text documents, so you'll want to whip out your favourite text editor. Vi and Emacs have good modes for editing such files but anything that can read & write plain ASCII will do. Yep, even notepad.

All LaTeX files begin with a document class command, and the main the main stuff is in a document environment. The best way to explain this is to look at a simple example:

\documentclass[a4paper]{article}
\begin{document}
\section{The first}
Hello, there.  Here's some text.  Just like HTML, extra 
spaces and carriage returns are ignored, LaTeX performs
its own formatting when it compiles.

New paragraphs are made by a double carriage return, like
that.

\section{Another}
Things like \emph{emphasis} and \textbf{bold text} is
very easy. How about some lists?

\begin{itemize}
\item This is an item in a list
\item So's this.  They'll have bullet points
\item Dum, de, dum.
\end{itemize}

Or a numbered list...

\begin{enumerate}
\item This is an item in a numbered list
\item You can define your own numbering systems
\item And they nest very easily
\end{enumerate}

\end{document}

Save that file as foo.tex or something similar, and run it through LaTeX like this:

latex foo.tex

You will then find a few extra files have been created. The important one is foo.dvi. Open this with a dvi viewer like xdvi or kdvi, or, if you like, you can turn it to postscript with dvips and view that.

You should find it looks something like this (but prettier):

1. The First

  Hello, there. Here's some text. Just like HTML, extra spaces and carriage returns are ignored, LaTeX performs its own formatting when it compiles.
  New paragraphs are made by a double carriage return, like that.

2. Another

  Things like emphasis and bold text is very easy. How about some lists?

  • This is an item in a list
  • So's this. They'll have bullet points
  • Dum, de, dum.

Or a numbered list...

  1. This is an item in a numbered list
  2. You can define your own numbering systems
  3. And they nest very easily

This is obviously, only a simple document, but it gives you a taste of the LaTeX way of doing things. The online help is a great resource to help you move on from here. It's on longer files that LaTeX really begins to shine. Pages and sections (and subsections, and subsubsections) are automatically numbered. It will build tables of contents for you and there's environments for tables and pictures. All the time, LaTeX works hard in the background to lay out your pages in the best way it can without all the formatting getting in the way of your writing.

Anything else?

Well, yes. There's latex2html which will turn your documents into web pages, pdflatex which produces great PDF files and, of course, thousands of packages and classes on CTAN to help you with anything you may want to do.

Once you've started using LaTeX, you'll begin to hate word processors, seriously. Your printed work will look far superior to those of lesser Word-using mortals and attractive members of the opposite sex will fall at your feet.

Versions of LaTeX is available for almost any computer system you may be using. All flavours of Unix and Linux, MacOS (including OS X), Windows, QNX, VMS the list is almost endless. If you haven't already got it installed -- if you're using Linux, you probably have -- go and download one now.



Sleek.
Smooth.
Glossy.
I catch my breath.
It envelops me, tighter and tighter, squeezing
a second skin that tantalizes
hugs every inch
warm with the heat of my flesh.
I run my hands over my breasts
feel the nipples grow hard against the thin rubber
I feel
powerful.
Unstoppable.
Wet.
I want to be worshiped, as is my due.
A latex goddess
or devil
depending.


Done on a dare from another noder. Blame him, not me.

A woman handed me a small plastic package.
Me: Hey, free condoms.
I pocketed the object, and continued walking. Some time later, after I arrived where I was walking to, I was sitting down, beginning to become bored. I withdrew the bag from my pocket.
Me: So, how do these things work?
Jeremy handed me a foam sword.
Jeremy: Scout, here, make this thing safe.
Turning the package over, I began reading the back of it.
Me: This package contains one lah-tek con...
Phil interrupted, looking at me oddly.
Phil: Wait, did you just say LaTeX?
Me: Hmm? Oh, sorry. ...one lay-tex condom.
Phil: You idiot. See, this is why you'll never need to use one.

Every time I see the word "latex", I habitually read it as "LaTeX". Apparently they are not the same thing. To put it simply: one is for producing output, the other is for suppressing output. Ironically though, various colours of latex are used in the signage on synthetic tennis court surfaces. LaTeX would also be very good for typesetting the instructions on condom packaging.

La"tex (?), n. [L.] Bot.

A milky or colored juice in certain plants in cavities (called latex cells or latex tubes). It contains the peculiar principles of the plants, whether aromatic, bitter, or acid, and in many instances yields caoutchouc upon coagulation.

<-- produced_by ∧ contained_in latex cells, -->

 

© Webster 1913.

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