Thursday, January 05, 2006

1/5/06 The World's Largest Prime Number

Researchers have announced the largest known prime number. I'm not really sure why this is exciting, but it is. It's a Mersenne Prime Number, which (if you're not into numbers or math, just move on) is 2^(some prime number) - 1. This new Prime Number is 2^30,402,457 - 1. The resulting number is over 9.1 million digits long.

For the extra-mathematically inclined, I also stumbled upon the Twin Prime Conjecture, too. Prime numbers sometimes come in pairs (one number apart) and there are an infinite number of Twin Primes. Like 17 and 19. And 41 and 43. The key here is that, even though these twin primes continue to be found, nobody has yet proven it true. Potentially also of interest is that there is no way to predict prime numbers through an equation. Some internet security is based on the unpredictability of prime numbers. So, you know, in your free time you can figure out the equation that will bring down modern civilization as we know it.

For people who are still basking in the glory of the White Sox World Series, you can take pictures of the World Series Trophy this month and next.

John Cage wrote a song called ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) in 1985 and transcribed it for the organ in 1987. The song is being performed now. The song began on September 5th, 2001. It will end in the year 2639. "The first year and half of the performance was total silence, with the first chord -- G-sharp, B and G-sharp -- not sounding until February 2, 2003." On Thursday, the second chord change will occur.

Nothing like spending four years carefully preparing for 21,630-kilometer trip and crashing into islands 21,600 kilometers short of your goal.

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