Cambridge MA

Mathematicians at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shocked the math world with the announcement that 1 equals 2. This discovery has wide implications for math, science and commerce. MIT Professor Lou Snut provided United Press the following proof:

The shock waves from this remarkable discovery have spread beyond the halls of academia and are affecting the lives of people all over the world. At a local McDonald’s restaurant, we interviewed Ms. Bee Gass who had just finished paying for her double Big Mac, extra large fries and chocolate shake. “I can’t believe that McDonald’s has been giving me the wrong change all these years.”

Mathematicians are scrambling to resolve this problem. Possible solutions include returning to the Roman numeral system, outlawing algebra and counting on your fingers. This last suggestion is gaining momentum since counting on your fingers is considered a very reliable method. One possible problem with this approach is that people are now reluctant to count using 1 and 2, which have lost all credibility. “We are considering returning to an even earlier counting system which has none of the disadvantages of the current logically inconsistent method, ” said Professor Snut. Holding up his fingers, he counted, “this little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none…” In this system, you might say “I got this little piggy had none tickets to the Lady Gaga concert” or “I’d like this little piggy stayed home eggs over easy”.

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I am so excited about this new discovery. It reminds me somehow of the endless fun and excitement I have often experienced discussing this type of obscure yet collosally significanct mathematical truth with my good friend Tony when we backpack together each fall. I would suggest that this particular equation had its origin with a relatively obscure Scandinavian singing group, whose name derived from another useful mathematical formula ab=ba, evidence that commutative properties exist even in the world of music. With no intention of injecting a scintilla of doubt, let me however also coment that this may not apply in other areas, such as poetry, where the relatively common rhyming scheme of abab (familiar to us from Shakespearian sonnets, among others) could, if subjected to the same laboriously fallacious process, be morphed into aabb (an acceptable pattern, though less commonly found), or, heaven forbid, into abba (which would not pass muster with my 8th grade English teacher, even though the relatively rare petrarchan sonnet rhyming scheme could be described thusly).

You might ask what poetry or music has to do with scientific proofs or mathematics, and why would anybody pay attention to this peripheral comment. I can only offer the observation that scientific “proofs” can only approach what is true truth because they are limited by the data available and the depth of our understanding and skill at interpretation. Art, music, and poetry are, on the other hand, true to themselves and though vulnerable to exogenous bias by those who interpret what they see are nonetheless true to their creator’s intention and meaning. Applying scientific principles, data sets, and variables will not alter their basic meaning. Mama Mia, scientificproofs has just met its Waterloo.

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