Earlier in this month, a computer in Missouri, part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, discovered the largest known prime number: 274,207,281–1. Actually, the Guardian reports, the number was discovered in September, but nobody noticed until just recently. Anyway, congratulations everyone!
If you're reading this, your chair might feel crowded, because there's 63 percent more of you than there used to be. Or 56 percent, maybe. Who knows? Last week, Quantcast, the web-traffic-monitoring service whose numbers are the basis for Gawker's editorial decisions, announced in a vaguely worded blog post that it had performed "a major measurement update" for "even greater measurement accuracy."
Did you know President Obama was going to win last night? If you read Nate Silver, the New York Times political blogger and statistical geek, you did. If you don't read Silver, though, you're probably wondering who the hell he is and why everyone is talking about him. Don't worry. We're here to help.
Number-talkin' scientists report that Americans can speak English and count to ten, but not at the same time. A study shows that our brains perceive the vowel sounds in "two" to represent something large, while the vowel sounds in "three" represent something small (in our brains, still). So people estimated that a $3 item marked down to $2.22 was actually more expensive than a $3 item marked down to $2.33.