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Topic: This stuff drives me crazy< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:14 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

link

When it comes to math and science, it's not unusual for the headline to be misleading.  In cases like that, at least the story has the right information.  However this statement is in error.

QUOTE
The largest prime number has been discovered — and it's 17,425,170 digits long. The new prime number crushes the last one discovered in 2008, which was a paltry 12,978,189 digits long.


There are an infinite number of primes, so there is no finite largest prime.  There is only the largest specific number known to be prime as of now.  Also, as long as I am being absurdly picky, this is not a "new prime number".  It's been there all along, but we had yet to focus our attention on it.

OK, OK, the story does seem to imply that there might be larger primes, since it recognizes the existence of a previous largest known prime (without calling it that).

When I retire, maybe I can supplement my income as a math curmudgeon.  Maybe they could pay me in discontinued Canadian pennies.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I love prime rib.  Wait, what?

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When the revolution comes, the drones are coming after you math nerds first.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(JimInMD @ Feb. 05 2013, 11:18 am)
QUOTE
When the revolution comes, the drones are coming after you math nerds first.

And us English curmudgeons next?  BL, maybe we can team up and form the curmudgeon corporation.

Hey, I just did a cranky-pants blog on using the right word.  Want to do a guest post on getting the numbers right? :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm amused when new planets are discovered.  

It is a peeve of mine also, along with the latest, greatest, most up to date, improved, this just in, but wait there's more...
A Tom Waits song comes to mind, but I'm finding the will power to not be that cynical just now.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nothing bothers me more than headlines proclaiming "America Lost Its Innocence".  That kind of nonsense could apply to pretty much any other country as well -- except I haven't encountered an idiotic headline like that anywhere abroad.

But back to topic... proclaiming the highest number... as described...  is akin to people freely declaring "three of my best friends...." -- superlatives are used so often -- grammatical correctness, or even logic, be damned.  Sigh...


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Where numbers come from.

A little know album (out of print) by Cat Stevens from 1975 tells and illustrates a tale of a special planet where all numbers are generated and dispersed throughout the Universe.

I own the original release of the LP.

The idea shaped into a fantastic, spiritual musical set on the planet Polygor. In the story, there is a castle with a number machine. This machine exists to fulfill the sole purpose of the planet: to disperse numbers to the rest of the universe—1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (but notably, not 0). The nine inhabitants of Polygor, called "Polygons", are Monad, Dupey, Trezlar, Cubis, Qizlo, Hexidor, Septo, Octav, and Novim. As the last lines of the book say, they "followed a life of routine that had existed for as long as any could remember. ... It was, therefore, all the more shocking when on an ordinary day things first started to go wrong." The change takes the form of Jzero, who comes from nowhere as a slave and eventually confuses everybody with his simple truth.

Source.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, just because we decide to look for something does not mean it was ever lost.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 2:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't thing they are implying that the number is "new"......just new to us.  I'd say the article is accurate, it's more a question of semantics.

Also seems to be a waste of electricity.  Wonder what the size of this projects carbon footprint is....
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 3:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Feb. 05 2013, 12:56 pm)
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I don't thing they are implying that the number is "new"......just new to us.  I'd say the article is accurate, it's more a question of semantics.

Also seems to be a waste of electricity.  Wonder what the size of this projects carbon footprint is....

Large, hard to determine prime numbers are used by NSA to creates codes.

I don't think any science, physics or math is a waste of time at all. It amazing that primitive organic beings can even conceive of numbers. If humanity has any purpose for its existence, it would be to "give thought" to everything it can imagine or observe.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 4:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Feb. 05 2013, 2:56 pm)
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I don't thing they are implying that the number is "new"......just new to us.

^Zactly. Some languages have two different words for "new", one meaning what we would call brand new and the other meaning new to you/me/us but not necessarily brand new. In English we have just one word we use for both meanings.

Even so, BL I agree it does read kinda funny. Kinda arrogant in a way -- it's new because of when we discovered it, potentially implying it wasn't there until we found it.

"Newly-discovered" wouldn't take much more space and would be accurate.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 5:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ Feb. 05 2013, 12:54 pm)
QUOTE
Yeah, just because we decide to look for something does not mean it was ever lost.

Now That is much more profound than any 20 million digit number.  
I think I'll steal it.  
Thanks, Travis!


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 5:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Same as when they discover the "largest dinosaur to have walked the earth". No... it's the largest one found to date.

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(desert dweller @ Feb. 05 2013, 3:07 pm)
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If humanity has any purpose for its existence, it would be to "give thought" to everything it can imagine or observe.

One of the finest thoughts I've ever seen posted here.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 7:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Math is like love; a simple idea, but it can get complicated.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 8:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

They call them pet peeves because the matters are petty.  Save your outrage for the important stuff.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2013, 11:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I suspect when they discovered Neptune, it was called "the new planet"......

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 1:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm glad math nerds exist, because math is a language my brain refuses to accept.

Kudos to you, math nerd!


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 9:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For a complete oxymoron, how about when we discover the fossil of a new, extinct species?

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 9:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Pick any topic you wish, "the media" will generally get it wrong in detail, unless it closely pertains to their own profession.

Case in point, the latest gun legislation debate... I've never heard more tortured, mangled and completely incorrect terminology used in relation to the various aspects of firearms, cartridges and magazines.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 10:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Good point, Brad.  My spouse has often noted how much meteorology the news gets wrong, and we find that makes us pretty cautious about other issues, especially science, that we aren't as up on.

Sadly, he has found the same issue in some science textbooks he's reviewed.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 11:35 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Same reaction as when Alex Rodriquez says it's "unbelievably false" that someone suggested he had a connection to a company that markets PEDs?

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 11:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hiking_tiger @ Feb. 06 2013, 11:35 am)
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Same reaction as when Alex Rodriquez says it's "unbelievably false" that someone suggested he had a connection to a company that markets PEDs?

That's a good one!   :laugh:

(He's right, though, I don't believe that it's false).
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(JRinGeorgia @ Feb. 06 2013, 6:03 am)
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For a complete oxymoron, how about when we discover the fossil of a new, extinct species?

OK, that made my coffee come out my nose.  hahaha

Rumi   <~~~~smells coffee


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 11:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Feb. 06 2013, 10:42 am)
QUOTE

(hiking_tiger @ Feb. 06 2013, 11:35 am)
QUOTE
Same reaction as when Alex Rodriquez says it's "unbelievably false" that someone suggested he had a connection to a company that markets PEDs?

That's a good one!   :laugh:

(He's right, though, I don't believe that it's false).

I don't expect him to have the grasp on English that a University prof would have, but as was said on the radio: "Saying 'Ghandi was a drunk' is unbelievably false. Saying 'Mother Teresa was a whore' is unbelievably false. Saying 'A-Rod had a relationship with a PED firm' is absolutely, 100%, possibly not true."  :;):

[apologies to Colin Cowherd for my not remembering his exact words.]


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 12:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Feb. 06 2013, 11:52 am)
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(JRinGeorgia @ Feb. 06 2013, 6:03 am)
QUOTE
For a complete oxymoron, how about when we discover the fossil of a new, extinct species?

OK, that made my coffee come out my nose.  hahaha

Rumi   <~~~~smells coffee

Either "I'm sorry" or "you're welcome", whichever is more appropriate...

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 1:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It doesn't matter what or how the "media" reports, someone will complain.  This is doubly true of science topics.  If a writer makes everything exactly technically correct, it often becomes gibberish to everyone except specialists in the field, kinda like legalese.  If the writer makes it understandable, then it is likely to be less precise.

Yes, there are some writers asked to write articles on science who have little science background.  And there are some reporters/writers who ask for writing assignments for which they have little background.  These scenarios are especially prevalent with small news organizations, which is almost every local TV and radio news department.  But large news orgs genereally get things better.  Misleading headlines are problematic because of the nature of selling news content.  In a perfect world, information would be free as Aaron Swartz wished it would be.

I seriously doubt many people read scientific journals because most are not available except for a fee.  Even if they were free, it is doubtful many would wade through the literature or even understand it if they did read them because of the technical language and specialized knowledge needed to comprehend most of them.

So when I read an article on a scientific or specialized topic (which might include Brad's gun articles), I first judge it on whether it intentionally is misleading or presents false information. Next I try to determine if it is too easily misinterpreted.  If I am really interested, then I will compare the information to other articles and do further research into the topic.

Rumi~the pedantic~Dude


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 11:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

@Rumi  I generally agree.  My main complaint is that the same space could have been used much better.  One or two sentences about possible applications or the history of the topic could easily have replaced some fluffier material and made it more relevant than just saying the ceiling got raised.

For example, noting that it was a Mersenne prime was wasted opportunity, because it says something about the nature and strategy of the search.  I doubt that it was coincidentally a Mersenne prime, I speculate that they focused on testing Mersenne numbers, perhaps because it is straightforward way to move the needle a lot instead of a little, especially if you have the computing horsepower.  (At least I didn't suggest that they bring up the practical aspects of dealing with numbers of that size.  That's the real hard part of this search).
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