I don’t really like radio DJs. I never have. But this morning, after I dropped my son off at school, I heard something on the local FM station, to which I just had to respond.
The morning crew was going over news briefs, and the last news item of the bunch is always something oddball that they then make some wisecracks about. Today, they started making fun of the guy who just found the world’s largest prime number. They were going on about “What’s the point?” and how it was a “waste of time” because the number is 6 million digits long and would take 1,600 pages to write out, etc.
Well, far be it from me to jump on a soapbox, but this called for action. I pulled the minivan over, grabbed the phone book, and dialed the radio station. Ten seconds later, I was on the air.
You know how you guys were just poking fun at the prime number guy? Well, did you know that large prime numbers are used in cryptography? And that the only reason you can go to Amazon and buy something without your credit card number being stolen is because some guy sat around in his basement and found these big prime numbers?”
Dead silence, then the female DJ: “I’m sorry, but you just put us to sleep.”
The male DJ: “Did you know that the human head weighs eight pounds?”
“No,” I said.
“Did you know which way a gun barrel is rifled?”
“No,” I said again. Long silence. “Are we still talking about prime numbers?” I asked, confused.
Alas, it was too late — they had hung up on me and the radio was playing some promo for something or other. Just another example of computer geeks being crushed by Big Media.