A mathematician has discovered the largest prime number known to man. It's got 17 million digits. And the lucky discoverer? Dr. Curtis Cooper, a professor of math and computer science at the University of Central Missouri.
He admits: "there's really no practical application" for his discovery. But he compares the search to an art form and says "in a lot of ways, mathematics and art are pretty closely related."
Due to the length of the number, he hasn't read all the digits. But he does say the first digit is a 5 and the last digit is a 1. See the full number here (warning: the page may take a while to load).
The man who allegedly killed former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a Texas firing range was also an Iraq War veteran, and the crime has raised questions about the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder — including whether a firing range is a safe place for a disturbed veteran.
The man who allegedly killed Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a Texas firing range was also an Iraq war veteran, and the crime has raised questions about the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder — including whether a firing range is a safe place for a disturbed veteran.
Why would you attach a moth to a robot so that it could maneuver around a wind tunnel? Not to create some sort of science fiction monster. The goal is to learn more about how to detect dangerous odors. Moths' antennae may provide some clues.
That means there will be only one carrier in the Gulf. For the past several years, the Pentagon has tried to maintain an overlap of two carriers because of regional tensions.
The Monopoly board game is getting a minor makeover. Toy-maker Hasbro asked the public to vote on changes to its iconic tokens. Businesses took note. A footwear company and a garden tool maker launched campaigns to protect the shoe and wheelbarrow tokens. Their fans prevailed. The big loser was the iron figurine.
Simon Doonan, creative ambassador for Barney’s New York, reacted to the loss with “a terrible dull sinking feeling of shock and horror.” He notes that the Monopoly iron was the old-fashioned 19th century kind you heated on a stove, which became obsolete decades ago.
“Historically, the idea of being pressed and Sunday-best was fashionably required,” says Cameron Silver, author of "Decades: A Century of Fashion." “In our casual society, ironing is not a requirement. There’s sort of schlubby-chic look that says it’s okay to be a little wrinkly.”
The notion of business casual has been taken to extremes. People consider it acceptable to wear yoga pants and sweats in public.
In fact, wrinkles can even be considered fashionable.
“It’s perfectly okay and perfectly groovy to wear a nice button-down shirt that is very creased,” says Doonan.
And technology has led to more wrinkle-resistant fabrics. Silver swears by his Brooks Brothers wrinkle-free shirts.
“We dress more like the Flintstones than the Jetsons because there hasn’t been that much change in the way we dress,” says Silver. “But fabrics have changed. And this is one of the reasons why irons might be anachronistic in some households where your fabrics are all permanently pressed.”
But the iron is still an essential tool in high fashion.
“In the creation of design, and in every couture salon, the iron is almost like a religious symbol,” says Doonan.
Speaking of religious symbols, you can still count on most hotel rooms to have a bible in the bedside drawer and an iron in the closet.
Harvard Business School retail historian Nancy Koehn says the number of irons in hotel rooms has increased “because hotel rooms, particularly large chains, have spent a lot of energy and money in the last five years trying to make hotel rooms much more comfortable and amenable to women business travelers.”
She says she doesn’t iron nearly as much as her mother did. But at the same time, Koehn hasn’t retired her iron.
“I iron a few of my clothes. And I have someone who irons a whole lot of my clothes. So my household is pulling up the national average by some measure,” says Koehn.
And just because business for iron-makers is declining in the U.S., the industry isn’t necessarily doomed. Koehn says the market for iron manufacturers is better in the United Kingdom, where the average woman spends 55 minutes a week ironing.
President Obama this afternoon nominated a former petroleum engineer and conservationist as his new interior secretary. His nominee, Sally Jewell, has worn many hats, and the president says that’ll help her balance the need for development and preservation.
“She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress," he says. "That in fact those two things need to go hand-in-hand.”
Sally Jewell once spent a month climbing mountains in Antarctica. Thomas Kiernan is one of her climbing companions and head of the National Park Conservation Association. Jewell serves on the association’s board. Kiernan says he learned a lot about her character during a harrowing climb up Mount Rainier.
“And that was a great example in my mind of her judgment," he explains. "We could handle a little wind, we could handle some snow, a little bit of hail. But lightning, that’s over the top and we need to back down.”
Jewell’s experience with rocky terrain would come in handy at the Interior Department. Oil and natural gas companies are clamoring to drill more on public lands, which environmentalists want left untouched. But she’s got street cred with both sides.
Bob Irvin is president of American Rivers. He likes Jewell’s conservation credentials and the fact that she’s chief executive of REI, a retailer of outdoor gear. Irvin was just in an REI store a few months ago.
“I bought a new sleeping pad," he says. "For camping.”
Irvin says Jewell realized a clean environment was essential for REI’s bottom line. “She has experience as the leader of a company that depends on a healthy environment for its profitability.”
But energy producers also like Jewell’s experience. Kathleen Sgamma is with the Western Energy Alliance, a trade group for independent oil and gas companies. She points out that Jewell once worked as a petroleum engineer. Says Sgamma, “We’re hoping she understands that oil and natural gas development can be done in a very environmentally protective way.”
Sgamma says she’s “cautiously optimistic” about Jewell’s nomination.
The incident comes just after Kevin Prince-Boateng walked off the pitch after hearing racist chants. At the time, the club's president praised the move.
All 50 of Boeing's 787 Dreamliners remain grounded after a series of incidents linked to its lithium ion batteries. As a result Japan's All Nippon Airways has cancelled more than 350 flights in February, including international flights to Seattle. But Boeing remains upbeat about the plane's future and is confident that despite the safety scares, airlines won't be cancelling future orders for the aircraft.
Dinesh Keskar is Boeing's senior vice president for Asia Pacific and India. He told the BBC no companies have asked for compensation following the grounding of the Dreamliner and defended the safety of the battery.
"Lithium ion batteries, there have been issues in the past, but at the same time we carefully analyzed everything. Went through the process of certification and we believe that's the right choice even today."
Authorities in Japan and the U.S. are currently investigating whether the batteries are the cause of the problem, but nothing conclusive has yet been found. In the meantime, Boeing has asked U.S. regulators for permission to run test flights of the Dreamliner. Keskar admits the company still doesn't know when the plane will be back in the skies.