Re: Interesting Article

Nancy Shields (
Fri, 27 Jun 1997 16:18:29 -0500

Hi! The Texas Education Network (TENET) has *finally* upgraded itself
so that teachers can get graphics, Netscape, etc. on the computers at
home. I am writing you all for the first time on Netscape. I just
clicked on the link Pat had in his email on autism and went to the
WAshington Post article, pictures and all. This is exciting! I just
had to communicate with all of you at dimacs my excitement. Now to find
time to visit the puzzle of the week and all of the neat web sites you
all have shown!

On another note. With the movie Contact, based on the book by Sagan,
coming out in July, I decided I wanted to read the book. Now that I am
about a third of the way through it, I think I read it once, it seems
familiar. My question is, the message from space is sent via series of
prime numbers. In the book, on page 86, he states, "No even number is
prime." Later on the same page he says "just the first few hundred
prime numbers in order, a cycling back to the beginning and again the
simple binary arithmetic representations: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17,
19, 23, 29, 31 . . ." I think (but with Carl Sagan evidently stating
something else, I feel unsure) that 2 (an even number (is prime), and
that in the long list of primes, that he should not have listed 1--which
is neither prime nor composite. Have any of you read this book, and if
so, what do you think about these statements? (The book is pretty good,
by the way, if you haven't read it. I hope the movie isn't totally
different, as in the case of The Lost World!)

Signing off from Netscape (YAY)
Nancy Shields
Beeville, Texas '96