“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
They’ve been ‘beautiful’, they’ve been ‘big’ and they’ve been ‘unusual’. Today we have another ‘significant’ number, fifteen, so-called because of their use and the beliefs surrounding it.
The number fifteen is perhaps best known today because of Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame statement.
Other facts about fifteen include,
- in mathematics fifteen is what is known as a triangular number, a hexagonal number, a pentatope number and the 4th Bell number;
- fifteen is the atomic number of phosphorus;
- 15 Madadgar is designated as an emergency number in Pakistan, for mobile phones, similar to the international GSM emergency number 112, if 112 is used in Pakistan, then the call is routed to 15;
- Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan;
- in Spanish culture 15 is the age when a Hispanic girl celebrates her quinceañera;
- it is the number of days in each of the 24 cycles of the Chinese calendar;
- it is the number of guns in a gun salute to Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force Lieutenant Generals, and Navy and Coast Guard Vice Admirals;
- it is the number of checkers each side has at the start of a backgammon game;
- and it is the number corresponding to The Devil in tarot cards.
- there are 15 players on the field in each rugby union team at any given time;
- in tennis, the number 15 represents the first point gained in a game;
- the jersey number 15 is worn by the starting fullback;
- the jersey number 15 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures: in Major League Baseball the New York Yankees, for Thurman Munson: in the NBA the Boston Celtics, for Hall of Famer Tom Heinsohn; the Dallas Mavericks, for Brad Davis; the Detroit Pistons, for Vinnie Johnson; the New York Knicks have retired the number twice, first for Dick McGuire, and then for Earl Monroe; the Philadelphia 76ers, for Hall of Famer Hal Greer; the Portland Trail Blazers, for Larry Steele: in the NHL: the Boston Bruins, for Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt: and in the NFL: the Green Bay Packers, for Hall of Famer Bart Starr; and the Philadelphia Eagles, for Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren.
- The 15th President of the United States was Democratic Party candidate James Buchanan (1791–1868) who was in office from March 4, 1857 to March 4, 1861. His VP was John C. Breckinridge.
- He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor, and the last president born in the 18th century.
- The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.
- Special Field Orders, No. 15 were military orders issued during the American Civil War, on January 16, 1865, by General William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi of the United States Army. They provided for the confiscation of 400,000 acres of land along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and the dividing of it into 40-acre parcels, on which were to be settled approximately 18,000 freed slave families and other Blacks then living in the area. Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton, an abolitionist from Massachusetts who had previously organized the recruitment of black soldiers for the Union Army, was put in charge of implementing the orders. The orders had little concrete effect, as they were revoked in the fall of that same year by President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Abraham Lincoln after his assassination.
Apollo 15 was launched on July 26th, 1971, and landed on July 30th, 1971, at Hadley Rille. Splash Down was on August 7th, 1971. The crew was David R. Scott, James B. Irwin and Alfred M. Worden. At the time, NASA called it the most successful manned flight ever achieved.
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon, and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of the longer “J Mission” expeditions to the moon, where the terrain was explored in some detail, and there was a much greater emphasis on science than had previously been possible.
The flight of Apollo 15 featured the first use of the Lunar Rover, which permitted Scott and Irwin to leave the Lunar Module “Falcon” behind and drive around over more than 27 kilometers of lunar ground.
The astronauts found and brought back the “Genesis Rock,”, a chunk of ancient lunar crust that has been extensively studied for clues about the origins of the moon and the Earth.
During the return flight aboard the Command Module “Endeavour,” Alfred Worden became the first man to perform a space walk outside of earth’s orbit as he went outside to retrieve some film from the side of the space craft.
Although the mission accomplished its objectives, this success was somewhat overshadowed by negative publicity that accompanied public awareness of postage stamps carried without authorization by the astronauts, who had made plans to sell them upon their return.
- The best known aircraft with this designation is the F-15 Eagle. It made its first flight in July 1972, and the first flight of the two-seat F-15B (formerly TF-15A) trainer was made in July 1973. The first Eagle (F-15B) was delivered in November 1974. In January 1976, the first Eagle destined for a combat squadron was delivered. The single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models entered the Air Force inventory beginning in 1979.
- The X-15 is perhaps the most ambitious aircraft ever created. It was built to push the limits of flight and explore the possibilities of space travel. During its research program the aircraft set unofficial world speed and altitude records of 4,520 mph (Mach 6.7 on Oct. 3, 1967, with Air Force pilot Pete Knight at the controls) and 354,200 ft (on Aug. 22, 1963, with NASA pilot Joseph Walker in the cockpit).
- In the course of its flight research, the X-15’s pilots and instrumentation yielded data for more than 765 research reports.
- The X-15 had no landing gear, but rather skidded to a stop in a 200 mph landing on skis. It had reaction controls for attitude control in space, and was a major step on the path toward space exploration. Much of what was learned on the X-15 was applied to the Space Shuttle.
- With the exception of the Kalashnikov, the Armalite AR-15 is perhaps the best know assault rifle in the world. It is a lightweight, 5.56 mm, magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifle, with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It is manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.
- The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a selective fire assault rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. The select-fire AR-15 entered the US military system as the M16 rifle. Colt then marketed the Colt AR-15 as a semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle for civilian sales in 1963. The name “AR-15” is a Colt registered trademark, which refers only to the semi-automatic rifle.
- Unfortunately its characteristics also made it a favorite weapon of terrorist organizations.
15 Gun Salute
- A 15 gun salute is accorded to a 3-star General
The Plus 15 Skyway
The Plus 15 or +15 Skyway network in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is the world’s second most extensive pedestrian skywalk system, with a total length of 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) and 59 bridges. The system is so named because the skywalks are approximately 15 feet (approximately 4.5 metres) above street level. (Some Plus 15 skywalks are multi-level, with higher levels being referred to as +30s and +45s.)
The system was conceived and designed by architect Harold Hanen, who worked for the Calgary Planning Department from 1966 to 1969. It provides a pleasant alternative to the cold streets in the winters which can be harsh.
The 15 Puzzle
One of the most famous puzzles, the 15-puzzle (also called Gem Puzzle, Boss Puzzle, Game of Fifteen, Mystic Square and many others) is a sliding puzzle that consists of a frame of numbered square tiles in random order with one tile missing. The puzzle also exists in other sizes, particularly the smaller 8-puzzle. If the size is 3×3 tiles, the puzzle is called the 8-puzzle or 9-puzzle, and if 4×4 tiles, the puzzle is called the 15-puzzle or 16-puzzle named, respectively, for the number of tiles and the number of spaces. The object of the puzzle is to place the tiles in order (see diagram) by making sliding moves that use the empty space.
And finally, The Church Choir
But one of the most unusual occurrences of the number concerns fifteen members of a church choir in Beatrice, Nebraska, due at practice at 7:20, were late on the evening of March 1, 1950.
- the minister, his wife and daughter were delayed while his wife ironed the daughter’s dress;
- another girl waited to finish a geometry problem for homework;
- one couldn’t start her car;
- two waited to hear the end of an exciting radio program;
- one mother and daughter were late because the mother had to call the daughter twice to wake her from a nap;
and so on.
All the reasons seemed ordinary. In total there were ten separate and quite unconnected reasons for the lateness of the fifteen persons.
It was rather fortunate that none of the fifteen arrived on time at 7:20, for at 7:25 the church building was destroyed in an explosion.
Life Magazine reported that the members of the choir wondered if their delay was “an act of God.”
The Mathematician Warren Weaver, in his book, ‘Lady Luck: The Theory of Probability’, calculates the staggering odds against chance for this event as about one in a million.
6 thoughts on “Significant Number Factoid Friday – 15 Fifteen”
Of the all the Church Choir is fascinating isn’t it.
Thanks for your comment. Absolutely. I have heard many stories of an individual not getting on a plane or not taking a train or not doing something else and escaping some kind of disaster, but never so many. Divine intervention, multi-coincidences, or what???
Trying to catch up, so just a quick few. 15 was the inch-size of the most common British battleship gun in WW1 and WW2. The Bismarck and Tirpitz also carried 15″ guns, as did the French ships Richelieu and Jean Bart, built to fight them (carrying their guns in two 4-gun turrets, all forward of the superstructure).
15 is “F” in base 16 (headecimal) numbering system used in many computers. All number characters in EBCIDIC, the coding of characters used in mainframes, use two hexadecimal digits, the first one being “F”, the second being the number (hence, 0 = “F0”).
And CV-15 was USS Randolph, named after the president of the First Continental Congress and rescue ship for John Glenn’s historic flight.
Excellent additions. Many thanks.
I had not thought about the number 15 in this way. Thanks for the information! The church choir is very Thomas Hardy.
Now you come to mention it I can see a bit of Thomas Hardy in that story. Thanks for commenting.