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Old 27 March 2014, 01:25 AM
mrwrite mrwrite is offline
Join Date: 12 February 2014
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 14
Default Selling prime numbers to the CIA

I read this odd question on a Q&A board.
"Does the CIA buy prime numbers?"
Versions of this can be found on several Q&A sites. Typically the price is listed as $10,000 and the prime must be of 100 digits.
(False, obviously. Fast computers can make as many as they need -- for less.)

I believe I may have found the start of this legend.
In the book, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time"
Doubleday (US) 2003
There is this quote:
"Prime numbers are useful for writing codes and in America they are classed as Military Material and if you nd one over 100 digits long you have to tell the CIA and they buy it o you for $10,000. But it would not be a very good way of making a living."

If it wasn't the start of the rumor, it did help pass it along. The book was written in the UK and reprinted in the US. It won a few awards and recomendations.
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