PanicIn the wake of my cogently worded suggestion that WordPress make some alteration to its “followers” calculation, I did not receive a direct response, but I know they are listening. They apparently heard my plea and have responded above and beyond my wildest hopes for a solution.

They doubled the number of followers they say I have on Facebook.

From yesterday’s absurd calculation of 1313 Facebook followers, at midnight, WordPress recalculated my numbers and informed me — and I suppose the rest of the world too — that I now have 2,628 followers on Facebook. I admit I added one friend, an old pal from college who looked me up (Hi Charlie!) and asked to connect. I said golly, haven’t talked to him in a dog’s age and gave him the green light. That must be what triggered the WordPress engines to leap on my growing Facebook coterie and send it to new heights.

Talk about a responsive organization, what could be more reassuring than this? I officially, as of this writing, haven’t the slightest idea how many followers I really have. The math has just gotten too complicated for me. Math has always been my worst subject, but I swear that the folks at WordPress have taken a page out of Douglas Adams‘ playbook and are now using Bistromathics to calculate my numbers.

Bistromathics (from Hitchhiker’s Wiki)

Bistromathics is the most powerful computational force known to parascience. A major step up from the Infinite Improbability Drive, Bistromathics is a way of understanding the behavior of numbers. Just as Einstein observed that space was not an absolute, but depended on the observer’s movement in time, so it was realized that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observer’s movement in restaurants.

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Nonabsoluteness

The first nonabsolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved. This will vary during the course of the first three telephone calls to the restaurant, and then bear no apparent relation to the number of people who actually turn up, or to the number of people who subsequently join them after the show/match/party/gig, or to the number of people who leave when they see who else has turned up.

The second nonabsolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of those most bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexclusion, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. In other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Recipriversexclusions now play a vital part in many branches of math, including statistics and accountancy and also form the basic equations used to engineer the Somebody Else’s Problem fieldDouglas

The third and most mysterious piece of nonabsoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the check, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table and what they are each prepared to pay for. (The number of people who have actually brought any money is only a subphenomenon in this field.)

Numbers written on restaurant checks within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical laws as numbers written on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of the universe.

(Excerpt from the Hitchhiker’s Wiki)

Anyone else want to weigh in on this? It’s the same poll as yesterday. So far, there’s 100% agreement that this is an absurd number. Now that WordPress itself has made it clear that they know how absurd it is by making it even more absurd, I think they may have already had the final word, but give it a go anyhow.

I thought it was important to maintain an honest relationship with readers, but that was before I realized we were actually on a space ship piloted by crazy aliens, powered by the world’s first Improbability Drive. Now I know there’s never going to be a fix because the whole issue is swathed in an S.E.P. (Somebody Else’s Problem) field and it is invisible! Hail Douglas Adams! You did not die in vain!

Note: If this trend continues, we will move from the Douglas Adams paramathematical realm to the Humpty Dumpty College of Astrophysics where “a word means what I say it means” and so do numbers. Just saying.