Wired Hoax

Scott linked to this Wired article on the old chain email about Bill Gates sending money to anyone who forwarded the email.  It is an interesting read about where that hoax originated.

But I had a good chuckle when I read the following:

On truthminers.com, mathematician Simon Nance calculated that in a mere three months of propagation, the email had put Microsoft, AOL, and Intel, individually or in combination, on the hook to owe 7.91 x 10111 dollars.

Goodness!  That sounds like a lot of money! Particularly when it is written as 7.91 x 10111.  That doesn't sound nearly as impressive as $79,978.01.  But hey, that's just in 3 months.  In a year that could add up to over $300,000.  That's over $100,000 a piece for Msft, AOL and Intel.  In just over 37.5 centuries it could add up to what we just paid Sun a few months ago.

So I went and checked on truthminers.com to see what mathematician Simon Nance really said.  Hmmm.  The site has nothing to do with hoaxes, email or Simon Nance. You know, this has all the telltale signs...from the Internet and what seems like a reputable source...the added legitimacy of the title "mathematician"...a reference to a seemingly authoratative site (conveniently without a real link)...and a little mathematical mumbo jumbo....

It must be a hoax!

...or maybe their content publication system doesn't support superscript. :-)