Numbers in the News


Math Whizzes find Prime Number with 13 Million Digits!

Mathematicians at UCLA have discovered a 13-million digit prime number, a long-sought milestone that makes them eligible for a $100,000 prize. The group found the 46th known Mersenne prime last month on a network of 75 computers running Windows XP. The number was verified by a different computer system running a different algorithm.

Primes are numbers like three, seven, and 11 that are divisible by only two whole positive numbers: themselves and one. Mersenne primes are named for their discoverer, 17th century French mathematician Marin Mersenne. Thousands of people around the world have been participating in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search or GIMPS.

Gone: A Tree the Area of Your Kitchen

One of the world's oldest cypress trees caught fire and collapsed in central Florida this week. The tree was roughly 3500 years old and its base circumference was approximately 200 feet; that's about the size of 15 children holding hands in a circle! The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Zimbabwe Notes to lose 10 zeros?

Zimbabwe announced that it's knocking 10 zeros off its hyper-inflated currency - a move that turns 10 billion dollars into one. The move comes a week after the issue of a 100-billion-dollar note - still not enough to buy a loaf of bread!

The 2012 Cost of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas'

According to the annual "Christmas Price Index" compiled by PNC Wealth Management, the price of a partridge in a pear tree, plus two turtle doves, three French hens, four calling birds (canaries), five gold rings, six geese, seven swans, eight milk maids, nine dancing ladies, ten 'lords', eleven pipers (per performance), and 12 drummers drumming (per performance) is $186,609. That cost reflects an 11% increase since last year. Ahhh, the cost of true love. Maybe Dove Chocolates instead?

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