The Canard Times

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Canard Times Appears Slightly Forlorn

Springfield - The Canard Times delivered an official statement followed by a press conference stating that it may have noticed a lack of attention. Ian A. Straman, the publications' official spokesperson vehemently asserts that this statement "should not in any way, shape or form be construed as 'loneliness'."

"As a detached observer of the most underreported non-events in existence," stated Sraman. "The Canard Times denies the presence of any feelings, emotions or empathy within its words or between its lines."

When asked about the Times precipitous fall in both authorship and readership, Stramen lamented that he himself has been neglectful. "Some people believe there is but one reason that they were placed on this earth, although I wouldn't go quite that far, I certainly neglected my duty and obligation to vigilantly report on the more blatant absences of certain occurrences."

Some within the press corps suggested that bringing attention to the Times imminent demise was just a publicity stunt to drive up circulation. "There was no doubt in my mind that such a slanderous assertion would be leveled at such a venerable institution. Without any expectation of reward and operating on a negligent budget, this publication has brought you groundbreaking exclusives that you will find no where else." Wiping the stinging tears away from his eyes, Stramen added, "The Canard Times wishes to make it known that it feels apathetic to your accusation and does not feel either hurt or betrayed by the members of its own community or their obvious schadenfreude."

Iraqis Protect Themselves With US Flag

Baghdad – The American flag is now being plastered everywhere in Iraq. This isn’t some newfound Iraqi love of the Stars and Stripes. Instead, the flag is being used as protection against US military force.

Since the ruling by the Supreme Court that Jesse Hanson, demolition expert in charge of destroying a historic building that had the flag painted on its side by conservationists, was indeed guilty of breaking the Flag Protection Law according to the newly instated Flag Desecration Amendment, Old Glory has been seen painted on homes and businesses from border to border in this war torn nation.

Legal experts disagree whether US soldiers can be court marshaled for breaking the law by desecrating the flag during the course of their duties.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MIT Holds Biggest Number Contest

Cambridge - The old joke in the field of meganumerology is that it’s not the size of your numbers, but how you use them that counts. But one budding mathematician believes that you need to find the largest numbers before you are able to use them. So Mathew Frederin, Masters student of mathematics at MIT devised a contest to find some suitable numbers to study.

“My real interest is trying to find out which of two numbers is bigger, which isn’t as easy as it sounds when you are dealing with numbers on this scale”, explained Frederin. Finding a novel thesis topic in mathematics isn’t easy either, but thanks to a late night of drinking and playing math games with classmates he came upon the difficulties of determining the relative values of these meganumbers.

“I figured that there must be a systematic method for stratifying these numbers,” Frederin said. “But when I looked through the literature, it looked pretty bare.” Now that he had a thesis topic, he needed a way to gather data. “Computer generated numbers were predictably easy to categorize. So, I needed to find a human source for these numbers, written in the wide spectrum of mathematical notation used to create these numbers.”

The students and faculty at MIT were an obvious resource and at his adviser’s suggestion, created a contest. The rules are simple: Within 15 seconds contestants write on an index card English words or mathematical notation a single whole number that is less than infinity. The highest number gets the $1,000 grand prize with $500 and $250 going respectively to the second and third place winners.

“I sent out grant applications everywhere for the prize money,” said Frederin. “I never knew that the Department of Defense was that interested in the math contests.”

Contestants shouldn’t expect instant gratification for their 15 second effort. “Although it depends on the number of contestants, I fully expect it to take over a year to go through all of the cards and write proofs for the top finishers to discern which is the largest. This is my thesis project, after all.”

Inspiration -

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