# 247: Factoring the Time

(253 isn't a prime number.) |
(→Explanation: 1 is not a prime number) |
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==Explanation== | ==Explanation== | ||

− | [[Cueball]] is bored and so he does prime factorize the time shown at the clock. He's been doing this for almost two hours (from 1:00 pm to 2:53 pm). The number | + | [[Cueball]] is bored and so he does prime factorize the time shown at the clock. He's been doing this for almost two hours (from 1:00 pm to 2:53 pm). The number 2 is the smallest prime but 253 is in fact not a prime because it can be divided by 11. His co-worker is likely annoyed at this inactivity, and so he switches the clock from 12-hour time (2:53 pm) to 24-hour time (14:53). This makes factorization more difficult, as the time now shown is a four digit number rather than a three digit number. The number 1,453 is a prime number as well, but Cueball has only one minute to solve this. |

This comic is also a play on the phrase "factoring the time", which means taking time to make sure one has sufficient time. | This comic is also a play on the phrase "factoring the time", which means taking time to make sure one has sufficient time. |

## Revision as of 10:22, 18 October 2013

Factoring the Time |

Title text: I occasionally do this with mile markers on the highway. |

## Explanation

Cueball is bored and so he does prime factorize the time shown at the clock. He's been doing this for almost two hours (from 1:00 pm to 2:53 pm). The number 2 is the smallest prime but 253 is in fact not a prime because it can be divided by 11. His co-worker is likely annoyed at this inactivity, and so he switches the clock from 12-hour time (2:53 pm) to 24-hour time (14:53). This makes factorization more difficult, as the time now shown is a four digit number rather than a three digit number. The number 1,453 is a prime number as well, but Cueball has only one minute to solve this.

This comic is also a play on the phrase "factoring the time", which means taking time to make sure one has sufficient time.

The title text refers to a similar challenge involving mile markers. At highway speeds (60+ mph), they would show up at least once per minute. Combined with the distraction of driving, factorizing numbers in time becomes much more difficult.

## Transcript

- [One man is sitting at a computer. Cueball sits at a separate desk. There is a clock which reads 2:53.]
- Cueball: 253 is 11x23
- Man at computer: What?
- Cueball: I'm factoring the time.
- Cueball: I have nothing to do, so I'm trying to calculate the prime factors of the time each minute before it changes.
- Cueball: It was easy when I started at 1:00, but with each hour the number gets bigger
- Cueball: I wonder how long I can keep up.
- [Man at desk reaches back and touches the clock.]
*BEEP*- [Clock now reads 14:53.]
- Cueball: Hey!
- Man at computer: Think fast.

## Trivia

- There is a widget for OS X to display the current time and its prime factors.

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