UnNews:Mathematicians: 42 really the same number as 23

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21 April 2007

PRINCETON, NJ -- Mathematicians have proved that 42 and 23, each long known to be the Ultimate and Second-to-Ultimate Answers to Life, the Universe and Everything due to their overuse, are actually both the same number.

Paul Johnston Dullford, a pure mathematician at Princeton University's Institute of Advanced Study of Advanced Study, uses the analogy of blind men examining a V-dub to explain the course of numerics until today. "One describes touching a tire, one describes touching a trunk, another describes the bonnet, yet another sadly is run over by the V-dub, because the secretly non-blind person drives off with the V-dub, but that's not important," he says. "They come up with different descriptions but they don't see the big picture. There is only one V-dub and they describe different parts of it."

Dullford's claim is this: 22 is the same number as 22 since 1) 2+2 = 4 = 2*2, and 2) 22 = 2*11 and 2+1+1 = 4 = 2+2. Likewise, 42 must be the same number as 23 because 1) 4+2 = 6 = 2*3 and 2) 42 = 2*3*7 and 2+3+7 = 5 = 2+3. Dullford explains that "7 is exempt from any addition" because 7 is what he calls a "lucky" number. He tried to explain the concept of "luck" to us, saying that "it's similar to Gel Man's concept of 'strange,' 'charm,' and 'beauty' quarks," but UnNews found it incomprehensible.

Mathematicians sum up the coupling factors of 42 and 23 into this diagram.

Dullford theorizes that 42 and 23 are part of a framework number (another incomprehensible concept) tentatively named M. When asked what M stood for by fellow mathematician Jack Wiston, he replied that M "stands for magic, mystery, or Monday, according to taste." He also added, "Some cynics have occasionally suggested that M also stands for 'murky,' because our level of understanding of the number is in fact so primitive."

Skeptics of M have joked that the "M" means "Moronic", "Microsoft" or "Grue", which really doesn't start with an M, which is the point since skeptics still think 42 and 23 are as different as M and G are. Some also suggest that the M is an upside down W, for "Wiston".

Skeptics also criticize that Dullford misspelled the physicist Murray Gell-Mann's name.

42 commented that "I told you so!" 23 commented that "That explains a lot."

Meanwhile Douglas Adams and Jim Carrey were unavailable for comment. Douglas Adams was busy pushing the daisies, while Jim Carrey was filming The Number 1337.