> |>> "2".to_i *1.1
> |ArgumentError: illegal radix 1
> |        from (irb):2:in `to_i'
> |        from (irb):2
> |>> "2".to_i * 1.1
> |=> 2.2
> 
> "2".to_i *1.1 is parsed as "2".to_i(*1.1).  Try -w if you have doubt.

Yes, I figured it was something like that.  But don't you think that Ruby 
should be able to figure that out?
I don't know.  I don't think I've seen this problem in other high-level 
languages.  I guess that this is part of how I would expect a high-level 
language to "stay out of my way" and let me focus on the problem I am 
actually trying to solve.

-- 
Daniel Carrera
Graduate Teaching Assistant.  Math Dept.
University of Maryland.  (301) 405-5137
--
quintessence: quintessence (kwin-TES-ens) noun
   1. The pure, concentrated essence.