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September 2006
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My Revolutionary New Prime Discriminator
by Marshall

In the sci.math there are people who talk seriously about mathematics. Then there are people who think they are talking seriously about mathematics but who actually are raving loonies. A chap named Marshall decided to parody the typical crank style of posting. Below is what he came up with. See if you can tell the difference between the parody and the real thing.


When I first came to sci.math, I thought I was going to arrive as someone with a lot to learn, and that I would pick things up from others more educated on the topic, maybe get pointers to good books to read, maybe do some independent study. But after reading for a few months, I now see that isn't how it's done around here. Instead what I ought to be doing is posting my own theories, using *creativity* rather than formality or correctness as my guiding principle.

So I think it's about time I explain to the world how prime number *really* work, since you all are off on such a dead end, making it all complicated. Why you would be making it SO complicated I can't understand. Do you hear me: I can't understand!

So, a whole number 1, 2, 3, ... is prime if it can't be divided by any number other than itself and 1. Got it? It's important that you get this much, so I'm going slowly. So how can we tell if a number is prime? If we look at 1, 3, 5, 7, they are all odd, and they are mostly prime, except for the lowest one. If we look at 2, 4, 6, 8, we see they are all nonprime, except for the lowest one. So from this we can conclude that a number is prime if it is an odd number, except for the in the case of the two lowest numbers, for which it works exactly the opposite way.

Likewise, we would expect to see the same behavior at the opposite end of the whole numbers. Infinity is the largest whole number, and it is even. And infinity is prime! I'm pretty sure that because of symmetry, infinity - 1 is nonprime, even though it is odd, but I haven't been able to come up with a proof of this yet. I'm thinking I should probably buy a book or something that explains how you do proofs, because I'm having trouble getting started. However, I looked on Amazon for some good math books, and a lot of them are $100! I am pretty sure Bertrand Russel never spent $100 USD on Amazon to buy a math book, and he's like, all famous and stuff. Maybe one of you "math-a-maticians" can do this proof for me? I will share the credit if you want.

So there you have it! Odd numbers are prime, even numbers aren't, except in the case of the largest and smallest even and odd numbers, where you have the opposite.

Tune in next week when I show you an amazing way you can determine whether a number is even or odd, by examining only it's lowest digit! (But you have to convert it to base 2 first.)


This page was last updated September 1, 2006.
It was moved May 13, 2010

Richard Harter's World
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Mathematics
Science!??
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September 2006
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Hyde County, South Dakota is the Pin Tail Duck Capital of the world. Visit scenic Highmore, SD in 2006!