Thursday, October 21, 2004

I hurt you with my words

In my CS 251 class, we cover various data structures of use in programming: trees, graphs, queues, stacks, etc. So oftentimes the professor will draw an example of how we might envision one of these data structures on the blackboard, and he'll occasionally ask the class to give him numbers to fill into the nodes. The first time he called on me, I said "pi". The second time, I said "e".

He doesn't call on me anymore.

And now, it's time for...
Duck's Classroom Corner
-with Professor Duck

Today, Duck will prove to you that 2n = 0, where n is any natural number.

First off, we know that 2n - 1 = 20 + 21 + 22 + 23 + ... + 2n - 2 + 2n - 1
In binary, the ith bit of a bitstring, starting at 0 and from the rightmost bit, is equal to 2i. Therefore, the righthand side of the equation becomes the bitstring 1111...11

But! In binary, the most significant (or left-most) bit is known as the sign bit, meaning that it indicates whether the number is positive or negative. Let's show our bitstring again, with the most significant bit highlighted:
Since the most significant bit is 1, this number is clearly negative. But negative what? To negate a two's-complement binary number, you invert every bit and add 1 to the result. Let's investigate further:
     1111...11 <= What we started with
     0000...00 <= After inverting each bit
     0000...01 <= After adding 1

So we see that the negative of 1111...11 is just 1; therefore, 1111...11 = -1.
But recalling our previous equality, we know that 2n - 1 = 1111...11, and by the transitive property of equality, we know therefore that 2n - 1 = -1.

After adding one to both sides, we arrive at our final result:
     2n = 0

Next class, Duck proves that the total number of dead in the Holocaust was also 0... or, as Duck might say, 2n.

Debora, you might want to stop reading at this point.

Y'all should visit this site.
Where else could you find a woman telling you that John Kerry eats fetal stems cells, will kill every unborn child in the world, will kill every newborn male of the Hebrews, and will elect activist judges like Saddam Hussein to the Supreme Court? That's something the liberal media won't report!
Nor do they seem to be making widely known the massive ignorance (or possibly denial) of Bush's constituency.


Anonymous said...

Nice bit of arithmetic hooey hiding in the guise of infinite series, but your first equality isn't. Jeez.

Skemono said...

You're not very bright, are you?