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Topic: -1 as a prime
Replies: 15   Last Post: Sep 29, 2000 11:55 PM

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james dolan

Posts: 93
Registered: 12/8/04
-1 as a prime
Posted: Aug 25, 2000 1:47 PM
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beable van polasm wrote:

>-1, factors: -1, 1. HEY! NEGATIVE

sorry, you'll have to get in line behind all of the other cranks and
kooks before you who've made the same "discovery". just last week i
was reading a book where the author presents the idea that -1 is a
prime as his own brilliant idea. he gives a list of four example
statements that he claims are stated most concisely if -1 is
considered to be a prime. his first example is "every nonzero
rational number is uniquely a product of powers of prime numbers p";
apparently he's too stupid to realize that -6 is both 2*3*(-1) and
2*3*(-1)*(-1)*(-1). his second example is "for distinct odd primes
f(p,q) and f(q,p) differ just when p = q = -1 (mod 4)", where f is the
"legendre symbol" function. this is just too brilliant for words:
he's trying to argue that -1 should be treated on the same footing as
the official genuine primes, and he does so by exhibiting a statement
that explicitly makes -1 an exceptional case. needless to say after
those first two examples i didn't bother trying to understand his last
two examples which were full of tell-tale pseudo-jargon like
"p-adically integral root vectors".

if you want to make a name for yourself as a prominent mathematical
crank then you'll at least have to try to outdo the guy that wrote
that book.

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