The natural numbers were known to the Arabs, who grew them for medicinal use. They were referred to by Thābit ibn Qurra, an Arab mathematician, as "those things that, when added to, get bigger."
By 1600, four strains of the natural numbers had been developed. These were the strain known to us today, one in which 3 + 3 = weird 6 on Fridays, the kind where 1 + 1 = 1 when you're not looking, and, of course, the infamous "uncontrollably raspberry" variety. By 1954, all of these varieties but the modern one had died out.
In 1996, Monsanto Corporation developed a line of genetically modified numbers, sometimes called "artificial numbers." Anti-gene groups such as Monsanto + Numbers = No! have called for mandatory labeling of GM numbers, fearing they pose a threat to things there is a quantity of. In particular, they claim that Monsanto could achieve control over the world's money supply indirectly through its control of number.
When natural numbers pass through the human or animal digestive system, they are depleted of quantity. Depleted numbers must be renewed by the biosphere before they may be used to count things again. Depleted numbers are written "physical quantity • nominal quantity," e.g. 0 • 6.
The natural numbers are defined:
- Zero is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
- (For all n) n+1 can be as bad as n
- It's the loneliest number since the number n
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