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random numbers

1. <programming> pseudorandom number.

2. <jargon> When one wishes to specify a large but random number of things, and the context is inappropriate for N, certain numbers are preferred by hacker tradition (that is, easily recognised as placeholders). These include the following:

17 - Long described at MIT as "the least random number"; see 23.

23 - Sacred number of Eris, Goddess of Discord (along with 17 and 5).

42 - The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, as revealed in Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxly". Note that this answer is completely fortuitous :-) (US pronunciation). It has been observed that in the little-used number base 13, the answer to the ultimate question, "What is 6 x 9?", is indeed 42, showing that in six dimensions white mice have 13 digits.

69 - From the sexual act. This one was favoured in MIT's ITS culture.

105 - 69 hex = 105 decimal and 69 decimal = 105 octal.

666 - The Number of the Beast.

For further enlightenment, study the "Principia Discordia", "The Joy of Sex", and the Christian Bible (Revelation 13:18).

See also Discordianism or consult your pineal gland. See also for values of.


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