[edit: didn't realize links wouldn't work, replaced with url]

Infinite Jest's wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_Jestdescribes Michael Pemulis as "very proficient in mathematics." No one in the book seems to question this, and certainly his

enthusiasm for math is evident, as when he tries to convince Possalthwaite that math constitutes truth in endnote 324. However, the two times (if I remember correctly) that we observe Pemulis doing math, he gets it wrong.

In endnote 123, Pemulis incorrectly applies the Mean Value Theorem. I don't want to get too far into the math, but it does not follow from the Mean Value Theorem that "You just skim the highest and lowest ratios off the Eschaton records the Beanie-man keeps on each time." This would imply that only the highest and lowest values affect the average, which is obviously not the case.

In endnote 321, Pemulis incorrectly explains how to take the derivative of a function.

(and no, now that I think about it, I don't think those endnote numbers are a coincidence)

Ominously, on p. 852 (of my version), Hal states, "Pemulis had poured a terrific volume of practical pre-Boards math into my head for two weeks, taking his own time and not asking for anything in return, being almost suspiciously generous about it."

And of course we learn in the first few pages that Hal did poorly on the SATs, though it is his verbal score that we learn is "just quite a bit closer to zero than we're comfortable with." (p. 6)

So this raises the question - is Pemulis intentionally sabotaging Hal's SAT score (and not just by giving him DMZ)? Or is Pemulis actually not as good at math as everyone assumes? Do his enthusiasm and charisma blind everyone to his deficient math skills?

And if Pemulis is trying to sabotage Hal, why?