Mr. Aba Cuss shook his head. “The fact that an abundant number is a number less than the sum of its factors (excluding itself) changes nothing. The first number of that form is 12 and I cannot present such a design to the architects. It’s too much.”
“I suppose such an abundant number of floors would be odd,” Sham admitted.
Aba stared. “An odd abundant number? There’s no way we could build a structure of 945 floors!”
“No, no! That is… well, can’t we add just one more floor?” Sham continued worriedly.
“Not a floor or a ceiling,” Ada responded. “Don’t you remember how our original design for the MC was that big castle structure…? Some people had real math news issues with that.”
Sham pondered for a moment, trying to determine what to do. “How about enlarging the floors we already have?” he proposed.
“Won’t do. Anyway, it’s all out of our hands now, our feat was merely working out the dimensions,” Aba reminded.
“And it’s too late to change them?” Sham verified. This loop was becoming infinitely more complex.
“Yes,” Aba declared firmly. “Though if you’re this concerned I can send along the schematics when they come in.”
Sham nodded. “Please do,” he requested.
A few days later, Sham found himself on a plane, observing cubism as he grappled with a tesseract. Indeed, he had managed to work out a diabolical plot on his graph paper. “You’re looking well co-ordinated,” Hal observed, stepping into the imagine chamber.
Sham jumped and fell, almost fracturing his spline. He spun to face the hologram. “Where have you BEEN?” he demanded. “And what are you WEARING?” he continued.
Hal’s pink tie was clashing with his plaid suit. “Aw, Sham, you don’t remember?” he chided. “I wore this tie last time you were in Mizuloo. Remember how my fifth wife graduated from here? …or maybe it was the fourth…”
“Nevermind,” Sham sighed.
“Anyway, sorry about the loss of contact. BigE is better but we’ve had our hands full in the year 2000 what with the aliens.” Sham stared. Hal continued. “See, they seem to be negotiating with the President about fixing the whole Y2K Bug using superior alien technology. But they’re asking for a lot of money. Thus the government is considering rerouting the funds currently going to Quantum Loop.”
“What on earth on you talking about?”
“No, they’re not from Earth, that’s the point. But anyway, what are you up to here?”
Sham decided to ignore Hal’s aliens for now. “I’m fixing the Math & Computing building’s problem,” he explained. “It seems like I ended up getting here too late to alter the three dimensional construction – so I’m adding a few extra dimensions to the sixth floor.”
Hal blinked. “How would anyone know to look in n-space to install extra computers??”
“There are mathematicians in the building, right? I figure I just have to introduce the proper labelling system for the doors and people will be able to work out a mapping from that. Access follows.”
Hal looked dubious. “Access at Mizuloo is not known for it’s reliability,” he stated. “What are you going to be basing this mapping on?”
“Probably something to do with Harshad numbers. What do you think?”
“I think I have no clue what you’re talking about,” Hal concluded.
What is Sham up to now? Is he as spaced out as the aliens in the future? Are you as lost as Hal? Then look for the continuation in two weeks time…
–Greg “hologrami” Taylor
[A prior issue of mathNEWS had featured a castle structure as cover art. Access was the University’s unreliable software program for co-op. With the inside jokes out of the way, I’ll just mention that the previous Loop entry fit very nicely into one column. This entry, not so much. The joys of layout, when one is the editor.]