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’Wron number caught in Fermat-defying romp

Innocent integer ensnared by Wiles’ wiles

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Stob US software and litigation giant Softwron Inc is today vigorously denying a rumour that its newly patented integer, the so-called ’Wron number, has been caught flouting numerical law.

Hirsute expensively-suited granite-jawed granite-named Mr Rock McDosh, founder and CEO of Softwron, appeared before the world’s press to defend the integrity of the company’s recently acquired intellectual property.

Mr McDosh was unable to address accusations directly, owing to a blanket gagging injunction taken out by one of the other parties allegedly involved. He was therefore obliged to make something of a Prince Charlie of himself, to the simple pleasure of all present:

"We categorically state that no number protected by Softwron patent has been involved in any rumoured inappropriate behaviour; and in any case we do not accept that such behaviour is inappropriate, if it could be stated what it was. Nonetheless, if going forward it were generally known what it was, our number would still not be involved in whatever it is. Which it isn’t."

That’s clear then. Happily, The Reg is published on the Internet, outside the jurisdiction of any court except that of Almighty God Himself and the beak at Croydon. We can dish the dirt. The rumour, which started in the Usenet newsgroup sci.math.research but rapidly spread to rec.pets.cats.anecdotes, states that the ’Wron number and two other ‘large’ integers together ganged up on an unwilling smaller (but technically oversize) integer and forced it to indulged in a Fermatic practices with them.

Put in lame layman’s terms, Fermat’s law states that, if the sum of two integers each raised to a given integer power is equal to a third integer raised to the same power, then the maximum power that may legally be used is 2.

The following press agency equation, recorded by an amateur using homemade equipment, purports to show the guilty parties at it like knives. The identities of most of the integers involved have been crudely concealed with simple alphabetical letters, although if you look carefully you can just make out that the ‘victim’ is 3.

x³ + y³ = z³


Legal seagull Lawrence P Po™a®© (pronounced ‘potmarc’) comments: "This kind of incident is highly embarrassing for Softwron right now, but I don’t think it will ever go to court. What you have to remember is that the US Government never ratified Fermat’s Law, which it views as being anti free trade."

Top mathematician Andrew Wiles proved Fermat’s Last Theorem in a famous 1995 paper that can be found here. We would attempt a witticism, but mere English language comedy is as dust once you have read the study of Hecke rings in chapter 2. This kept us giggling happily down the pub last Friday for hours, until the landlord called time and hustled us out into the evening drizzle. ®

© Copyright 2003 Verity Stobb

Five Stob stories on Number Patentability (read them in sequence)
Numbers to be patentable
Patented numbers ‘a good idea’
First integer patented
Softwron shows off its new technology
’Wron number caught in Fermat-defying romp

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