FOM: script/can't run away

Stephen Fenner fenner at
Tue Sep 15 14:11:40 EDT 1998

On Tue, 15 Sep 1998, Harvey Friedman wrote:

> I claimed that for all k, n(k) exists. Also that n(2) = 11 and n(3) is
> incomprehensibly large.
> ****
> HMF: Got something trivial looking and elementary to tell you. How long a
> sequence in k letters can you write down satisfying a very simple condition?
> VICTIM: OK, what's the condition?
> HMF: Call the sequence x. That no consecutive block of the form
> x_i,...,x_2i be a subsequence of another consecutive block x_j,...,x_2j.
> VICTIM: Hmmmmmm. OK. That's simple enough.
> [Lot's more puzzlement on the part of VICTIM]


Your script sounds a lot like ones I've had a number of times with
Goodstein sequences.  Have you ever tried *them* on other mathematicians?
(High schoolers are facinated, too.)


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