How was math done before the invention of calculators? By using your fingers, of course, and people of a polydactyl persuasion were then our greatest scholars. They were able to use their extra digits to perform undreamed of feats of computation, like counting past 10. Unfortunately, society doesn't always reward those who are different, even when they contribute great things. In fact, this week is the 22nd anniversary of the opening of the movie The Princess Bride, which details one such sorrowful tale. Along with some other unimportant subplots, the movie recounts the demise of the greatest mathematician in all the land, Tyrone Rugen, who risen to the position of Count in the court of Prince Humperdinck of Florin thanks to his skill and cunning. Sadly, just before Tyrone was to release his new breakthroughs in the Goldbach Conjecture to the public, he was cruelly dispatched by the maniacal Spanish outlaw Inigo Montoya, who had relentlessly hunted the good Count for years because of some indiscretion that occurred several decades in the past. Thus, a great intellectual was lost to the world forever.
In remembrance of good Count Tyrone Rugen, the Court Calculator of Prince Humperdinck of Florin.
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