I’m in western Vermont until Wednesday morning, totally off the grid except for a 56K dialup connection which seems much slower. I’m visiting my father and sister, and I found an item that follows right along with the prime number conversation we’ve been having here.

Since I’ve already finished the books I brought with me (Robert B. Parker’s *School Days* (not the best of the Spenser series) and Keith Olbermann’s *The Worst Person In The World (and 202 Strong Contenders)*), I checked out the bookshelves that cover a wall of Dad’s living room. I found there a copy of John Derbyshire’s *Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics.*

Riemann was working a close relative of the problem we were working last week: can a formula be built to describe the quantity of prime numbers found between 1 and some number *N*? The book is a fascinating discussion of both Riemann (the man’s life and his place in mathematics) and the problem itself, which has vexed mathematicians since Riemann first posed a hypothesis in a seminal 1859 paper.

I’m currently four chapters into this book, which the *Christian Science Monitor* describes as, “a math book that reads like a mystery novel.” I’ll need to leave it here when I depart, so I’ll probably need to find a copy of my own before I can provide a full discussion, but based on the first 48 pages, I highly recommend this book.

More later in the week when I’m back in my own time zone..

-wp

It’s been awhile since I posted any non-technical news, and since the current non-technical news is going

Frequent readers of this space will recall that I’m in western Vermont visiting with family until the

Ward: Hope you are having a great time in the northeast, enjoying some respite. I will be up that way in a couple of weeks.