Today is 11-12-13. In recognition of this cool date and number, I decided to unveil a few more cool numbers. And, to talk about numerology in general. Numerology is any study and/or belief in the purported mystical and even divine (or other) special relationship between a number and some coinciding event(s). Whether you believe in numerology or not, I bet you have a favorite number anyway. Isn’t that funny? My favorite number is 9.
- Cats (like me) have nine lives!
- There are nine muses in Greek mythology. Who didn’t watch (and love) Xanadu?
- Nine is the highest single-digit number in the decimal system and symbolizes completeness in the Bahá’í Faith. In addition, the word Bahá’ in the Abjad notation has a value of 9, and a 9-pointed star is used to symbolize the religion.
- There are nine rings of power given to men, nine ringwraiths, and nine companions in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
- In base 10 a positive number is divisible by nine if and only if its digital root is 9. That is, if you multiply nine by any natural number, and repeatedly add the digits of the answer until it is just one digit, you will end up with nine. Check it out:
2 × 9 = 18 (1 + 8 = 9)
3 × 9 = 27 (2 + 7 = 9)
9 × 9 = 81 (8 + 1 = 9)
121 × 9 = 1089 (1 + 0 + 8 + 9 = 18; 1 + 8 = 9)
234 × 9 = 2106 (2 + 1 + 0 + 6 = 9)
578329 × 9 = 5204961 (5 + 2 + 0 + 4 + 9 + 6 + 1 = 27; 2 + 7 = 9)
482729235601 × 9 = 4344563120409 (4 + 3 + 4 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 0 + 4 + 0 + 9 = 45; 4 + 5 = 9)
(okay, I admit that we may have gotten out of control on that one)
- Buddhist rituals usually involve nine monks.
- Nine is the number of innings in a game of baseball, the number of players on the field including the pitcher, and the number worn by Roy Hobbs in the movie The Natural.
- Finally, six recurring nines appear in the decimal places 762 through 767 of pi. This is known as the Feynman Point. Surprisingly, the next sequence of six consecutive identical digits in pi is again composed of 9s, starting at position 193,034. Coincidence? I think not!
(speaking of pi, I can recite 22+ decimal places from memory)
Kristine, my wife, has always said that 22 is her favorite number. I’m not sure why she picked this number, but here are a few COo.oOL things I know about it… The standard port number for the Secure Shell protocol is 22 (but I mean, who didn’t know that??) 22 divided by 7 approximates the irrational number pi; which is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (more about pi in a little while). The atomic number of titanium is 22, and that is pretty neat! Iron Maiden has a song named “22 Acacia Avenue” (this is another cool appearance). Did you know that there are 22 stars in the Paramount Films logo? And, drum roll please, my most favorite 22 (and perhaps the most famous use of the number) is in the title of the Joseph Heller book, Catch-22, and more recently added to the dictionary to mean, a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule. Freaking AWESOME!
My motorcycle number (during my racing years) was 922; which was a combination of both of our numbers. Whenever my wife or I see a time of 9:22 (a.m. or p.m.) we always say, “Nine Twenty-Two, I love you!” On top of this, one of my all-time favorite movies is A Streetcar Named Desire with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando… Can you guess what the streetcar was numbered? You got that right… It was 922! Bad ass!!!
Stacey (a good friend of mine) loves the number 714. Oddly enough, Isaiah 7:14 starts Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign… The colloquial name for the recreational drug Methaqualone (Quaalude) is seven-fourteen, originating from the number 714 stamped on the tablets. And, Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs over his 22 year career (some might argue that Babe Ruth could also go under the number 22 for having that long and successful career).
Another magical couple of numbers in our lives are 1111 and 2222. Because 10:22 p.m. is 2222 in military (24-hour) format, we often point out that arbitrary time. Speaking of times, we also love to wish ourselves happy birthday when the time says our birth date (mine is 4:12 and Kristine’s is 7:31). By the way, my last post appeared on 11/11 and as I said earlier, this one is on 11/12/13… Too bad I didn’t post it at 9:10 as well… Eerie!!!?? Numbers are everywhere!!!
There’s the superstitious and dubious 13. Friday the 13th is probably the most famous of these, but did you know that many tall buildings skip the 13th floor for this exact reason?
Another creepy superstitious number is 666. Need I say more?
One of the more painful and often appearing numbers for me is 911. I see that time on the clock fairly often, and it always brings back memories of that horrible attack.
Let’s not forget the Fibonacci Series ratio (or golden ratio); which Dan Brown helped to make famous in his book, The Da Vinci’s Code. Also called phi, this number (phi = 1.61803…) can be found in the Fibonacci spiral (shell), pentagram, pyramids, pine cones, spiral galaxies, hurricanes, and DNA molecules.
I half expect my buddies (Paul, Indy, Joe, Eric, and other geniuses) to comment with a bunch of mathematical fascinations such as Euler’s formula, Avogadro’s number, and the numerous constants (I can only remember: Champoleon, Conway, Feigenbaum, Euler-Mascheroni, and Khinchin). These are obvious neat numbers and calculations as well, but I didn’t want to write an entire book! However… I did want to mention one… Perhaps cooler and more amazing than phi, pi, e, or other numbers, is wau… Rather than try to type something up, I thought I would share an incredibly fun video found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFLkou8NvJo:
And, last but not least, what discussion about numbers would be complete without a look at the number 42; which was not only Jackie Robinson’s number, but also the supercomputer’s (named “Deep Thought”) answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything which appeared in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Obviously, we tend to see the numbers that we appreciate more than other numbers. This is because our subconscious allows us to notice them on clocks, license plates, street signs, in movies, and so on and so forth. But, I still think numbers are very interesting!
Do you dig numbers? What’s your favorite, and why?
As a free gift, I’d like to leave you guys with a small piece of pi (actually nine hundred and twenty-two pieces):
Did you notice that 922 digits into pi is my wife’s birthday (731)? How cool is that??!!
I hope this was fun!
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