[This originally appeared on Segfault. The original link has disappeared, so I've replaced it with a local copy. I don't know who the author is, but if you do, please email me.]
Scientists at Microsoft's new MS-NeatStuff (tm) lab announced today that they have discovered a previously unknown integer, sitting about 2/3 of the way between the integers 5 and 6. The integer, named MS-glef(tm) by its discoverer, is claimed to revolutionize all branches of mathematics.
MS-glef was discovered by harnessing the power of the Internet. The number line between 0 and 9 was broken into over 17 quadrillion neutrino-sized pieces, and distributed to Microsoft web sites worldwide. Between November 5th and 11th, anyone accessing the internet using Microsoft browsers would unknowingly download some of these pieces, and their own computer would help in this search. The only noticeable effect was that the Internet seemed "really slow".
"This wasn't the first time we harnessed the Internet in this way", reported Dr. Simon Thorpe, head of the project. "We've had to do this for things like computing Mr. Gates' tax return and keeping track of our competitors. In fact, just about any time the Internet seems really slow, it's probably because we're doing some kind of weird massively parallel stuff. It's called our .NET initiative, and we hope people will think it's cool, but it's not like they can do anything about it anyway."
Mathematicians around the world are having a hard time accepting this new integer. "It's really kind of embarassing for them, to think that there was another number right under their noses all along", countered Dr. Thelma Janssen, of Microsoft University. "It will seem weird to teach kids to count ...4...5...MS-glef (tm)...6..., but with our new MS-Math (tm) books and MS-Calculators (tm), I'm sure we'll get through it."
The symbol for MS-glef (tm) looks something like a 'B' and 'G' combined with a '$', but cannot be printed yet until Microsoft licenses the new symbol to font packages throughout the world, scheduled for 4th quarter 2001.