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The Psychic and the Prime Hunter

# The Psychic and the Prime Hunter

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Be sure to check out the books:
The Lowbrow Experimental Mathematician
http://bit.ly/99Q5Ro
&
Mathematical Bliss
http://bit.ly/9a9DV0
(Thanks for buying a copy of either!)
Be sure to check out the books:
The Lowbrow Experimental Mathematician
http://bit.ly/99Q5Ro
&
Mathematical Bliss
http://bit.ly/9a9DV0
(Thanks for buying a copy of either!)

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01/26/2013

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Be sure to check out the books:
The Lowbrow Experimental Mathematician
http://bit.ly/99Q5Ro
&Mathematical Bliss
http://bit.ly/9a9DV0
(Thanks for buying a copy of either!)
The Psychic and the Prime Hunter
Always being attracted to calculators of any kind, Wescouldn't resist picking up the small cheap off-brand modelthathe noticed one afternoon while browsing in his local DollarStore. Flipping the package over, he examined the operatinginstructions on the back, looking carefully at one of theexamples given in fine print: (1.1^4 = 1.464100...), whichimmediately made him think of a new integer sequence (Wes was constantly inventing new sequences to submit toLawrencePhillips's
Online Database of Bizarre Sequences
), thedefinition of which ran: “the first n digits of n.n^n with thedecimal point dropped.” Because Wes was nearly a savant atmental calculation, the following table of numbers instantly appeared in his mind's eye:
1.1^1 = 1.1000... = 12.2^2 = 4.8400... = 483.3^3 = 35.93700... = 3594.4^4 = 374.809600... = 37485.5^5 = 5032.8437500... = 503286.6^6 = 82653.95001600... = 8265397.7^7 = 1604852.326685300... = 16048528.8^8 = 35963452.4805529600... = 359634529.9^9 = 913517247.48364089900... = 913517247

10.10^10 = 11046221254.112045100100... =110462212511.11^11 =318313199834.893757229618080039271100... =3183131998312.12^12 =10046885156265.73593322355334080731545600...=10046885156213.13^13 =344700123623159.4179818491169923949186115300... =3447001236231
An unusual way of generating numbers
, Wes thought whileexamining the front of the calculator.
And with a pleasingsymmetrical definition, too. But I doubt it will ever haveanyreal world significance.
On a rack next to the calculators, Wes noticed a tabloidmagazine with the headline:
Psychic Ytetra Finds Lost Vaughn Boy
. Robert Vaughn was an OklahomaCongressman whose son had been missing for several months, while Ytetra was the most famous psychic in the United States. Last yearshe had proved herself to many doubters by passingnumeroustests with prominent scientists in Switzerland, successfully demonstrating to them that her psychic abilities had at least85% validity. But Wes still had his doubts about anyone claimingto be a clairvoyant or psychic. He scanned the tabloid articlethat went into extensive detail about how Ytetra awoke one

morning with a vision of a raft floating down the Chikaskiariver and a pink mass in the center. Sure enough, later thatday a helicopter spotted the Vaughn boy floating down the riverina small inflatable boat and rescued him. The Congressmanquickly dispatched a sizable monetary reward to Ytetra,along with a personalized letter of appreciation.Upon placing the tabloid back in the rack, an idea came to Wes:
Perhaps Ytetra could help me find a large primenumber that would be worth a million dollars.
Wes did believe most psychics were indeed charlatans, yethe simultaneously possessed a contradictory belief inmysticism, which he had developed after studying portionsof  Wittgenstein's classic philosophy book,
Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus
. Wittgenstein's small book had convinced Westhat genuine mystics had to exist somewhere in the world,therefore he learned not to completely dismiss all types of “spirituality,” or any “unexplained phenomena” realms thatmay lurk in the human mind.
Maybe Ytetra really could help me find a prime number
, Wes thought, strolling out the smudged glass doors of theDollar Store.
But even if she can't, it will only convince me further that psychics are simply frauds. On the other hand,if it works I would be financially secure for awhile. I wonderwhat certain corporations are offering now for world-record  primes?
Various research foundations had been offering sizablemonetary prizes for primes for years, if they were big enough(meaning they had to meet a certain amount-of-digitscriteria).

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