What’s something divided by zero?
General Musharraf is becoming too frequent a guest on Sunday Levity. But this one deserves mention. Responding to now routine concerns over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, he said:
“The only way it would be endangered would be if al-Qaeda gets so strong that it defeats the Pakistan Army, or if Taleban supporters win the election, and the possibility is zero, multiplied by zero and divided by zero.” [Times Online]
We know that when he talks about being 400% sure he’s likely to be lying. But in this case he may be, ironically, telling the truth. For unless he is a student of Brahmagupta’s mathematics (circa 628 CE), he is effectively saying that the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of al-Qaeda/Taliban is indeterminate. In other words, we just can’t say that the chances are.