Thursday, August 04, 2005

Perfect Numbers and a Gunslinger Savant

Several experts agree--Latigo Flint is most likely a gunslinger savant, the rarest of all the savants. Raymond Babbitt is an idiot savant, and a highly functioning one at that.

Raymond Babbitt and I actually get along quite well. We have long and halting conversations about courtroom television and hydrophobia. Boxes of toothpicks fall and Raymond Babbitt knows in an instant how many toothpicks lie scattered on the floor. (82, 82, 82.)

It only takes but another instant for me to slap thigh, shuck iron and shoot toothpicks in half until the total number of toothpick pieces is 496. (Four of them I have to shoot into thirds, of course.) This makes Raymond Babbitt extremely happy because 496 is a perfect number -- one of those incredibly rare numbers whose factors (the numbers by which it is divisible, excluding itself) add up to the number itself.

To date there are 42 known perfect numbers. The 42nd was discovered in February of this year. They started keeping track of perfect numbers in the mid 1500s. The first perfect number is six. I think this makes a beautiful sort of sense since the six-gun is a perfect weapon and it helped build a great country. Raymond Babbitt doesn't seem to care one way or the other. But the sly grin on Raymond's face every time the subject comes up leads me to believe that he knows of a couple more perfect numbers that he isn't telling about.

Perfect numbers are closely related to Mersenne Primes, an infrequent type of prime number named for the 17th century monk and mathematician, Marin Mersenne. But Latigo Flint isn't near drunk enough to discuss them right now.

Raymond Babbitt lets Latigo Flint hug him. Raymond Babbitt is very comfortable around Latigo Flint. Raymond knows that Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers are much too tough to be hurt by a little hot bath water.

(Latigo Flint has seen his own death in dreams so many nights in a row now that it isn't even funny.)

10 Comments:

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

that was supremely clever, my friend.

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

666 looks like a perfect number too. It is too bad that Satan's number has recently been changed to 616, although I guess it's still pretty good. Whatever Babbitt says is okay with me.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

I really like the word "shuck."

Great work, Latigo. You should take Ray to Starbucks and load him full of caffeine.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

where do you get all of this information? you are truly a wealth of knowledge!

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger amandapants said...

Doesn't the gunshot scare Raymond?

You know what scares me?
Math.
Math scares me.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

Of course, the number of digits in each number quickly get higher and higher. The fifth is in the tens of millions. The eighth has 19 digits. It would take Rain Man several hours just to write down the expanded form of the 43rd.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Amandarama said...

"Perfect numbers are closely related to Mersenne Primes, an infrequent type of prime number named for the 17th century monk and mathematician, Marin Mersenne. But Latigo Flint isn't near drunk enough to discuss them right now."

How much drunker do you need to be? I have whiskey and am now very curious.

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I'd never heard of a perfect number before.

Although 36C is pretty damn perfect.

I know, tacky.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger MJ said...

Wow. You really do kick ass! I'm a sucker for mathematically minded vigilantes of justice.

 
At 1:40 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Ho... I don't even remember typing it.

Oh, you've heard of that too huh Old Hoss? I actually know the archeologist who excavated the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus and found the fragment that implied Bub's # was 616... Okay that's a lie, no I don't. (Yes, I do!)

Coffee makes Ray a might nervous when he drinks it Steve. (Or, wait a minute, is that my other friend I'm thinking of?)

The Google, Tabitha Jane, the Google. Just between you and me, the Google has the capacity to make us all appear geniuses if we choose.

No Amandapants, math is your friend!

You're absolutely right Trevor. He sees it in his head just fine, but his pencil betrays him every time he tries to express it.

I need to be "this" drunk Amandarama. (I just made a sizing motion with my hands... I guess you can't see it though.) You bring the whiskey and one or two or eighteen Coors chasers and we'll see if we can't track down Marin and his amazing primes.

But I like tacky LBB. Why would you apologize for giving me something I like?

I think this is good news MJ, both the part about how I kick ass and the part about how you are inclined to like me because of my tendency for mathematical vigilantism.

 

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