247: Factoring the Time
|Factoring the Time|
Title text: I occasionally do this with mile markers on the highway.
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 1 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.
Finding the prime factors of a number gets exponentially more difficult as the number gets larger.
This comic is also a play on the phrase "factoring the time", which means the time required to do something or the current time into account when making a decision.
The title text refers to doing something similar with mile marker signs, hopefully not while driving as this could be considered distracted driving.
- [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.]
- [Clock now reads 14:53.]
- Cueball: Hey!
- Man at computer: Think fast.
- There is a widget for OS X to display the current time and its prime factors.
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