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The IMU removed 45 from the number line in response to President’s anti-science policies. (Michael Vadon)

International Mathematical Union Kills 45

“We’d rather lose the President,” IMU leader admits

The International Mathematical Union (IMU) announced they will drop the number 45. Counting will skip from 44 to 46.

“Think of the missing number as mathematical Leap Year,” said IMU President Shigefumi Mori. “One of those odd curiosities we have to deal with.”

Arithmetic calculations will operate on the assumption that a value between 44 and 46 exists, Mori assured reporters. “We just stop using ‘45.’ For good. Other occurrences of 45 in the counting scale, such as 145 or 2245, stay in effect.”

“We want to make sure that, once this American President leaves office, he’s erased from the historical record. If we get rid of 45, there can be no references to the 45th President.”

“We want to make sure that, once this American President leaves office, he’s erased from the historical record. If we get rid of 45, there can be no references to the 45th President.”

“We’d rather lose the President than the number,” More added, “but life created a different set of variables. We’re stuck with those.”

Mathematicians admit new they haven’t worked the bugs out.

“We need to work out a few wrinkles,” Stanford’s Donald Knuth admitted to the Haven. “How would you express the simple problem 99–44? A new symbol would readmit the pompous windbag to the history books. But 44><46 is an awkward notation. The ceiling and floor function symbols are more elegant but, strictly speaking, inaccurate.”

IMU made the decision after university science and math forums crashed on June 1 last year. (The same day the President announced his withdrawal from the Paris Accords). Complaints overloaded the servers.

Examples of equations that work around the problem of losing the number 45.

“The situation became intolerable,” said British mathematician Roger Penrose. “Every scientist and mathematician was furious. Imagine. The American President says people can ignore science. And truth.”

“Every scientist and mathematician, I mean, except for those American idiots. Creation science my ass.” Penrose drew air quotes as he referred to “creation science.” “Now students use the President to justify wrong answers on their tests.”

“Only the other day a freshman blew a simple question on one-sided limits,” complained John Milnor of Stony Brook University. When his teacher marked the answer down, the student ran to the Dean screaming ‘fake teaching.’ And he wouldn’t be the first.”

“Last week a student told his teacher “an expression is whatever you feel inside at the moment.’ Half the class agreed,” griped UCLA’s Terence Tao. Tao is famous for his work in harmonics and combinatorics.”

“Last week a student told his teacher “an expression is whatever you feel inside at the moment.’ Half the class agreed,”

Milner reported, “A student said algebra isn’t in the Bible so UCLA shouldn’t expect students to learn it. Now we have a petition calling for the governing board to remove math from any degree requirements. Before Thanksgiving, University of Kansas students demanded amendments to science books. The protestors wanted the new editions to include the phrase, ‘the only human cause of global climate change is liberal hot air.”

Milner added, “We can’t let history record this man’s idiocies. Just putting them in print makes them legitimate in some people’s heads.”

The White House responded, as usual, with a Tweet. “45? Who needs it? With all the trillions my business is worth, one little number won’t be missed.” A follow-up Tweet claimed, “You can take the highest number in all the numbers ever made and my IQ is higher that that. Popularity too.”

Wry noir author Phillip T. Stephens wrote Cigerets, Guns & Beer, Raising Hell, and the Indie Book Award winning Seeing Jesus. Follow him @stephens_pt.

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