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This is something I wrote this past summer. A&M was going through large budget cuts, layoffs, etc. The Math department was in the building I worked at the time, and the head of the undergrad department had no sense of humor. So I wrote this up formatted it to look like an official departmental notice. I then posted it on the Math department bulleton board on the first floor of the building. It managed to stay up most of the summer before someone noticed it and took it down.


Department of Mathematics to Eliminate Unreal Numbers

by Jessica Scribner
special to The Journal of Academic Affairs


(College Station) Due to the ongoing budge constraints at Texas A&M University, the Department of Mathematics has decided to eliminate unreal numbers beginning first summer session of 2003. Dr. William Rundell, Department Head, states "I can no longer justify the expenditure of teaching the use of unreal numbers given the current fiscal crises. I want our graduates to be prepared for jobs in the private sector, and that means using real numbers. Unreal numbers are just theoretical concepts with no practical use. Let's save them for science fiction novels where they belong. Our graduates will be grounded in real world realities, and that means real numbers."

Faculty members were unwilling to comment publicly, but one privately stated "I'm afraid this is just the beginning. If we eliminate unreal numbers, what's next? Do we drop non-Euclidian geometry because we live in a Euclidean universe? What about imaginary numbers? Will they be considered the province of fantasy novels and dropped also?" Another professor worried about his own research program. "I've spend my entire life trying to determine the absolute value of pi. I'm afraid my entire life's work will be suspended soon, when I've only had the chance to publish the first seventeen volumes of my findings."

Math department insiders say there is a very good chance that repeating decimals will be the next victim. "Dr. Rundell has been heard discussing the prospect of eliminating repeating decimals. His view is that one is enough, repetition is unnecessary."

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