I have an unhealthy attachment to prime numbers. For years now I've been trying to incorporate primes into various numeric facets of my life, and I think I may have a problem.

The frightening symptoms of this disorder commenced when I got a stereo with a digital loudness control that can be set to any integer volume from 0 to 50. Suddenly faced with a far more scientific choice than that required by a simple potentiometer, I made the stupid and myopic decision to only ever adjust the volume to prime settings. This has since been the cause of much frustration, since I can't always set the volume as low as I'd like it, and because largish composite gaps like those between 7 and 11 or 23 and 29 don't allow me the fine volume control I sometimes desire in those areas of the dial.

I do cheat, of course, but it's always with a certain sense of guilt. As a compromise, if I can't find a prime volume setting which matches my mood, I'll at least try to minimise the number of factors that the volume has--so semiprimes are OK, and squares of primes are even better, but don't even think about factorials.

It doesn't stop there. Whenever I set an alarm clock, I try to choose a time which is prime ; I'm much happier waking at 9:53AM than 10'o'clock. When I write software which requires a time delay, I'll prime-ise the delay wherever possible (a shell script I wrote to periodically compress database archive logs does a sleep 307 between each loop). And I'm still unsure whether I've come to terms with the tremendous jealousy I felt in university when I discovered that one of my friend's student numbers was prime, whereas mine ends in a 2. (His was 9415019, if you're wondering.)

My girlfriend is surprisingly understanding. She knows the Fundamental Law of Stereo Volume Factor Minimisation, and usually adheres to it. More touching still, for Valentine's day she gave me a laminated poster of the first few thousand primes, which is on our bedroom wall for easy reference when alarm-setting time comes around.

Unfortunately, admitting and discussing my problem has strengthened rather than reduced it. While writing this node, I got the idea of finding out which of my E2 nodes have prime node_id s. Once I collate the data, you can go here to see the results.

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