Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Forty-Four 44

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Okay, this week’s significant number was either going to be 44 or 45, but, rightly or wrongly, the American people voted for Barack Obama and so the number is 44  –  hard luck Mitt.

So here we go, and just like President Obama we’re not sure exactly where.

Enjoy.

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44 Forty-four

 44

 

 

In politics

  • In the U.S. presidential election of 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt won reelection over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey, becoming the only U.S. president elected to a fourth term.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

  • A few days ago Barack Obama was elected to his second term as the 44th US President.
Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America
Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America

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In mathematics

  • 44 is a tribonacci number, a happy number, an octahedral number and a palindromic number.

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In science

  • 44 is the atomic number of ruthenium

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In space

  • STS-44 was the 44th Shuttle mission. It was cut short after one of its three navigational units failed.

 sts-44-patch

 

  • Messier object M44, also known as the Beehive Cluster, is a magnitude 4.0 open cluster in the constellation Cancer,
Messier object M44
Messier object M44

  

  • 44 is the Saros number of the solar eclipse series which began on April 30, 1448 BC and ended on June 7, 168 BC . The duration of Saros series 44 was 1280.1 years, and it contained 72 solar eclipses.
  • The Saros number of the lunar eclipse series which began on October 1, 1363 BC and ended on March 27, 153 . The duration of Saros series 44 was 1514.5 years, and it contained 85 lunar eclipses.

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In sport

  • 44 is the retired number for former baseball players Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey and Reggie Jackson; the number is sometimes considered to be a “hitter’s number”.

Hank Aaron

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  • In the NFL 44 was the number of Floyd Little (Denver Broncos) and Pete Retzlaff (Philadelphia Eagles)
Floyd Little
Floyd Little

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  • In the NBA 44 was the number of Dan Issel, (Denver Nuggets); Jerry West (L.A. Lakers); Paul Westphal (Phoenix Suns); Sam Lacey (Sacramento Kings); and George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs).
Dan Issel
Dan Issel

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  • A number of football legends at Syracuse University also wore 44, most notably by Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, and Rob Konrad. Although the number was officially retired in 2005, the legend of 44 remains an important part of the identity of Syracuse University.

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In WWII

1944 was arguably the most interesting year of World War II. Incidents of note included:

 

  • The Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome when 335 Italians are killed, including 75 Jews and over 200 members of the Italian Resistance from various groups.

 

  • The real “Great Escape” (as opposed to the famous movie version) when 76 Royal Air Force prisoners escape by tunnel “Harry” from Stalag Luft III. Only three made it back to the UK, and of those recaptured, fifty were executed.

 

  • Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, was the code name for one in a series of large-scale rehearsals for the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which took place on Slapton Sands or Slapton Beach in Devon.
  • The first practice assault took place on the morning of 27 April. H-hour was set for 7:30 am, and was to be preceded by a live firing exercise to acclimatize the troops to the sights, sounds and even smells of a naval bombardment. During the landing itself, live rounds were to be fired over the heads of the incoming troops by forces on land, for the same reason. This followed an order made by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, who felt that the men must be hardened by exposure to real battle conditions.
  • The British heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins was to shell the beach with live ammunition, from 6:30 to 7:00 am, giving the beachmasters half an hour to inspect the beach and declare it safe.
  • However, several of the landing ships for that morning were delayed, and the officer in charge decided to delay the bombardment until 8:30am. This message was received by HMS Hawkins, but not by a number of the landing craft, with the result that troops were landing on the beach at the same time as the bombardment was taking place. This unfortunate mix-up resulted in a “friendly fire” incident with 946 American servicemen losing their lives.
  • The incident was under the strictest secrecy at the time due to the impending invasion, and was only nominally reported afterward. As a result it has been a largely “forgotten” disaster of WWII.

Plaque commemorating those killed in Operation Tiger

 

  • On June 6 Operation Overlord, or the D-Day landings, took place, when 155,000 Allied troops shipped from England land on the beaches of Normandy in northern France.
  • It was the largest amphibious military operation in history and was the beginning of the liberation of France and the other countries in Europe invaded by Nazi Germany.
D-Day Landings
D-Day Landings

 

  • Also in 1944, on July 20 there was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler led by Claus von Stauffenberg.
Führerhauptquartier, Stauffenberg, Hitler
Führerhauptquartier, Stauffenberg, Hitler

 

  • At the beginning of August 1944 the Warsaw Uprising began and lasted until October 2, when it was finally ended by Nazi troops.
Warsaw Uprising Symbol
Warsaw Uprising Symbol

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  • Also in August of that year, the Gestapo, acting on a tip off from a Dutch informer, sealed-off an area in an Amsterdam warehouse and captured Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family.
  • They were placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz, and on October 30, Anne Frank and sister Margot Frank are deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Anne Frank diary
Anne Frank diary

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In militaria

  • The .44 Remington Magnum or .44 Special are popular large-bore cartridge calibres. Originally designed for revolvers, a their introduction, they were quickly adopted for carbines and rifles as well.
44 calibre ammo
44 calibre ammo

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  • However many people mistakenly believe that the Smith & Wesson (S&W) .44 calibre revolver heavily featured in numerous Hollywood movies, particularly Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry is called the .44 Magnum (the most powerful handgun in the world), neither of which are true. The revolver used in those movies is actually the Smith & Wesson Model 29, a six-shot, double-action revolver chambered for the .44 Magnum cartridge. It comes in a variety of models with 3″, 4″, 5″, 6″, 6½”, 8″ and, later, 10″ barrel lengths.

Smith & Wesson Model 29

 

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  • StG 44
  • The StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44) is an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II that was the first of its kind to see major deployment and is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle.
  • It is also known under the designations MP 43 and MP 44 (Maschinenpistole 43, Maschinenpistole 44 respectively).
Sturmgewehr StG44
Sturmgewehr StG44

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  • Pzf 44 
  • Panzerfaust 44 “Lanze” (or Pzf 44 in short) is an antitank weapon. Development of this weapon commenced circa 1960, with grenade and launcher developed by German company Dynamit-Nobel AG.
  • The Pzf 44 entered German service during mid-sixties and in several modifications served until mid-eighties, when it was replaced by moremodern Panzerfaust 3 (Pzf 3) weapon.
  • It is a .44 Magnum carbine with a synthetic stock and stainless steel fittings. In common with many Ruger carbines it uses a rotary magazine which holds 4 rounds and fits inside the stock under the breech.

 

Panzerfaust 44 "Lanze" Pzf 44
Panzerfaust 44 “Lanze” Pzf 44

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  • DL-44 
  • The BlasTech Industries DL-44 heavy blaster pistol was a powerful sidearm from the time of the Galactic Civil War (yes, a little bit of sci-fi talk here). The DL-44 is described as a powerful, highly modifiable and accurate blaster pistol.
BlasTech Industries DL-44 heavy blaster pistol - tech drawing
BlasTech Industries DL-44 heavy blaster pistol – tech drawing
  • However, in outward design it is uncannily like the (real) German “Broomhandle” Mauser C96 pistol, used by both its German creators and the Ottoman Empire during World War I, and wound up in the hands of such notable figures as T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and Winston Churchill, and also saw service among various revolutionary movements throughout the world following the First World War.

 

"Broomhandle" Mauser C96
“Broomhandle” Mauser C96

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  • T-44
  • The T-44 was a medium tank first produced towards the end of the Second World War by the Soviet Union. It was the successor to the famous T-34. Fewer than two thousand T-44s were built, but the design became the basis for the T-54/55 series of main battle tanks, the most-produced tank of all time.
Soviet T44 tank
Soviet T44 tank

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  • TKX
  • The TKX is a relatively new Japanese tank with a 120mm gun, costing approximately $7 million and weighing in at 44 tons weight.

 

Japanese Army TKX 44 ton tank
Japanese Army TKX 44 ton tank

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  • A-44
  • Sometimes known as the ‘mystery tank’, the A-44 was developed as T-34 modernization program in 1941. 29-30 tonns, Hull front armour – up to 75 at 60 degrees, sides – 60mm, 76.2mm and 57mm cannons, 600hp enqine. Only paper project.
A-44 'mystery' tank
A-44 ‘mystery’ tank

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  • XB-44
  • One B-29A was handed over to Pratt & Whitney to be used as a testbed for the installation of the new Wasp Major 28-cylinder engines in the B-29. They came up with the XB-44 variant.

 

XB-44-1 variant of the B-29A
XB-44-1 variant of the B-29A

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  • X-44 MANTA
  • The Lockheed Martin X-44 MANTA (Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft) was a conceptual aircraft design that has been studied by NASA and the U.S. Air Force. It was intended to test the feasibility of full yaw, pitch and roll control without tailplanes (horizontal or vertical), attitude manipulation relying purely on 3D thrust vectoring. The aircraft design was derived from the F-22 Raptor and featured a stretched delta wing and no tail surfaces.
The Lockheed Martin X-44 MANTA (Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft)
The Lockheed Martin X-44 MANTA    (Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft)

 

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  • T-44A
  • The T-44A “Pegasus” aircraft is a twin-engine, pressurized, fixed-wing monoplane, manufactured by Beech Aircraft Corporation, Wichita, Kansas, whose mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots.

 

The T-44A "Pegasus"
The T-44A “Pegasus”

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Other stuff

  • Cities on the 44th parallel include, Minneapolis,  Simferopol (Ukraine), Bordeaux  (France),  Belgrade and Šabac (Serbia), Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada), Bucharest (Romania), Pierre (South Dakota), Augusta (Maine), and Montpelier (Vermont).
  • Cities on the 44th line of longitude include, São Luís (Brazil), Sana’a (Yemen), Baghdad (Iraq), Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), Hargeisa (Somalia), Arbil (Iraqi Kurdistan), Yerevan (Armenia), and Tbilisi (Georgia).
  • 44 is the international direct dial code for phone calls to the United Kingdom;
  • Interstate 44 is the freeway that runs from Texas to Missouri;
  • U.S. Route 44, is the highway that runs from New York to Massachusetts;
  • In Pennsylvania Route 44(PA 44), is the long state highway in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
  • The name of a mysterious savior of Poland was prophesied by the Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz in his masterpiece dramatic poem Dziady (Forefathers). In scene 5 of act 3, the priest Piotr announces a “reviver of the nation” who is to bring back the lost freedom of Poland, and describes him as: “Born from a foreign mother, his blood of ancient heroes, And his name will be forty and four.”
  • 44 is the name of a variant of the card game poker.
  • +44 is the name of a band that includes Blink-182 vocalist/bassist Mark Hoppus and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.
  • A blues song, Forty-Four, also known as “44 Blues”
  • Vicks Formula 44 is a cough suppressant
  • The 44 Cent Cure is the cost of treatment of intestinal worms that affect 400 million children in various arts of the world and leads to stunted physical and mental development in both boys and girls. They also cause nausea and diarrhea and in severe cases, they kill.
  • 44 is the largest number for which Wolfram Alpha offers a visual representation.
  • Wyoming was the 44th state to join The United States of America.
  • There are 44 candles in a box of Hanukkah candles.
  • An agent in the American Television series Get Smart goes under the title of 44, usually assigned to small, enclosed, unexpected spots, to meet Maxwell Smart, agent 86.
  • On January 15 1944 An earthquake hits San Juan, Argentina, killing an estimated 10,000 people in the worst natural disaster in Argentina’s history.
  • In 1944 meat rationing ends in Australia.
  • On March 4, 1944 in Ossining, New York, Louis Buchalter, the leader of 1930s crime syndicate Murder, Inc., was executed at Sing Sing, along with Emanuel Weiss, and Louis Capone.
  • In 1944 IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I).
  • On September 14, 1944 the ‘Great Atlantic Hurricane’ makes landfall in the New York City area.
  • And on October 20 an LNG explosion destroyed a square mile of Cleveland, Ohio.

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4 thoughts on “Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Forty-Four 44

  1. Well done, especially on the military stuff (and a special nod for the sci-fi toss in). The Panzerfaust 44 can be linked back to a weapon that first appeared in World War 2 as a simple anti-tank weapon (using a high-explosive anti-tank grenade to burn through armour) which was fired by a black powder charge. They were cheap and easy to build, yet in later forms (especially the 1944 version) could blast through any British or American tank, and through the sides or rear of most Soviet tanks.
    The StuG44 was directly responsible for the world-famous AK-47. Though Mikhail Kalashnikov always maintained the StuG44 had no influence on his AK-47, the design team had access to, and used features virtually identical to, the German assault rifle.
    And the Mauser C96 was not the only weapon to appear in Star Wars. The heavy blaster rifle carried by Chewie while rescuing Princess Leia was either an MG-34 or MG-42 (I forget which). George Lucas had access to a number of reproduction WW2 weapons available at the studio, and “borrowed” them for use. Additionally, in an early draft showing to studio execs, the final scene with Tie fighters and X-wings mixing it up hadn’t been finished yet, so footage of dog-fighting WW2 airplanes stood in.
    Oh, and just to keep my streak going – BB42 was the USS Idaho, a New-Mexico class battleship that fought in both World Wars. One of her most notable actions was supporting the retaking of the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska, the only US mainland territory captured by Japanese forces in WW2.

    • Thanks for the detailed comment. Much appreciated. And glad you enjoyed reading through this one. And I don’t think there’s much doubt that Kalashnikov took more than a little inspiration from the German gun. Really love the look of that X-44!

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