Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Forty 40

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


The factoid number for this Friday is forty. As usual there is more associated with it than you might think. Whatever your interest you will probably find something in here that you didn’t know about the number forty.



The Number Forty 40





In religion

40 is probably the most frequently used number in the Bible and corresponds to many major events. For example,

  • During the great flood it rained for forty days and forty nights [Genesis 7:4, 12, 17,8:6].
  • Isaac was forty years of age when he married Rebekah [Genesis 25:20].
  • Moses’ life is divided into three 40-year segments, separated by his fleeing from Egypt, and his return to lead his people out.
  • Moses spent three consecutive periods of “forty days and forty nights” on Mount Sinai; during the forty days during which he received the Law of the Sinai Covenant [Exodus 24:18], the children of Israel were tested [Exodus 32:1].
  • The Hebrew people lived in the Sinai desert for “forty years”. This period of years represents the time it takes for a new generation to arise.
  • Forty days after his birth a male child of Israel was dedicated to God at the Sanctuary [Leviticus 12:1-4].
  • The Israelite spies reconnoitered the land of Canaan for forty days [Numbers 13:25]; and Caleb was forty years of age when Moses sent him to reconnoiter Canaan [Joshua 14:7].
  • There were forty year intervals of peace in the age of the Judges (Judges 3:11; 5:31; 8:28)
  • There were forty years of war between Israel and the Philistines.
  • Several Jewish leaders and kings are said to have ruled for “forty years”, that is, a generation. (Examples: Eli, Saul, David, Solomon.)
  • Goliath challenged the Israelites twice a day for forty days before David defeated him.
  • 40 lashes is one of the punishments meted out by the Sanhedrin, though in actual practice only 39 lashes were administered.
  • Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days before His temptation [Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2].
  • Jesus taught His disciples for forty days after the Resurrection. On the fortieth day He ascended to the Father [Acts 1:3].
  • In modern Christian practice, Lent consists of the 40 days preceding Easter. In much of Western Christianity, Sundays are excluded from the count; in Eastern Christianity, Sundays are included.


  • In Islamic belief Muhammad was forty years old when he first received the revelation delivered by the archangel Gabriel.
  • Masih ad-Dajjal roams around the Earth in forty days, a period of time that can be as many as forty months, forty years, and so on.
  • The Quran says that a person is only fully grown when they reach the age of 40.


  • Some Russians believe that ghosts of the dead linger at the site of their death for forty days.


  • In Hinduism, some popular religious prayers consist of forty shlokas or dohas (couplets, stanzas). The most common being the Hanuman Chalisa (chaalis is the Hindi term for 40).
  • In Hindu system some of the popular fasting period consist 40 days and is called the period One ‘Mandl kal’ Kal means a period and Mandal kal means a period of 40 days. For example the devotees of ‘Swami Ayyappa’, the name of a Hindu God very popular in Kerala, India ( Sabarimala Swami Ayyappan ) strictly observed forty days fasting and visit ( Only male devotees are permitted to enter into the God’s Temple) with their holy submittance or offerings on 41st or a convenient day after a minimum 40 days practice of fasting. The offering is called ‘Kanikka’.



In science

  • Forty is the atomic number of zirconium.
  • Negative forty is the unique temperature at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales correspond; that is, -40°F=-40°C. It is referred to as either “minus forty” or “forty below”.
Negative forty  -40°F=-40°C
Negative forty -40°F=-40°C



In space

  • The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression (some scholars believe that this ancient information was the basis for the number 40 becoming sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims).
planet venus
planet Venus


  • Messier object M40, is a magnitude 9.0 double star in the constellation Ursa Major
Messier Object M40
Messier Object M40


  • STS-40
  • Although designated STS-40, this was in fact the 41st flight of the Space Shuttle and the 11th flight of Columbia. Its mission was to conduct the Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-1) experiments, the first spacelab dedicated to life sciences research. This included experiments that explored how the heart, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys and hormone-secreting glands respond to microgravity, the causes of space sickness and changes in muscles, bones and cells during the microgravity environment of space flight and in the readjustment to gravity upon returning to Earth.
  • Launch took place on June 5, 1991, 9:24:51 a.m. EDT. It was originally set for May 22,1991, but postponed less than 48 hours before launch when it became known that a leaking liquid hydrogen transducer in orbiter main propulsion system which was removed and replaced during a leak testing in 1990, had failed an analysis by vendor. Engineers feared that one or more of the nine liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen transducer protruding into fuel and oxidizer lines could break off and be ingested by the engine turbopumps, causing engine failure.
  • In addition, one of orbiter five general purpose computers failed completely, along with one of the multiplexer demultiplexers that control orbiter hydraulics ordinance and orbiter maneuvering system / reaction control system functions in aft compartment.
  • New general purpose computer and multiplexer demultiplexer were installed and tested. One liquid hydrogen and two liquid oxygen transducers were replaced upstream in propellant flow system near 17-inch disconnect area, which is protected by internal screen. Three liquid oxygen transducers replaced at engine manifold area, while three liquid hydrogen transducers here were removed and openings plugged. Launch reset for 8 a.m. EDT, June 1, but postponed again after several attempts to calibrate inertial measurement unit 2 failed. Unit was replaced and retested, and launch was rescheduled for June 5. Launch Weight: 251,970 lbs.
  • The Commander STS-40 was Marine Corps Col. Bryan D. O’Connor. Other crew, Air Force Lt. Col. Sidney M. Gutierrez (Pilot), James P. Bagian, M.D.; Tamara E. Jernigan, Ph.D.; and Margaret Rhea Seddon, M.D. The payload specialists, Francis Andrew Gaffney, M.D., and Millie Hughes-Fulford, Ph.D.




In politics

  • South Dakota ranks 16th in size among the 50 states. It was the 40th state to join the Union in 1889. South Dakota encompasses 77,123 square miles, averaging 10 people per square mile.
South Dakota State flag
South Dakota State flag
  • Ronald Reagan, former actor and Governor of California (1967-75) was the fortieth President of the United States of America, from January 20, 1981 to January 20, 1989. His Vice President was George H. W. Bush.
Ronald Reagan 40th President of the United States of America
Ronald Reagan 40th President of the United States of America
  • Reagan’s Presidency was notable for at least two incidents.
  • On March 30, 1981, only 69 days into the new administration, Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. Although “close to death” during surgery, Reagan recovered and was released from the hospital on April 11, becoming the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. The attempt had great influence on Reagan’s popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%. Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose.
  • A couple of videos, the first rather long but interesting in that it shows the live story of the assassination attempt developing, and the second President Reagan recounting the assassination attempt from his personal perspective.



  • Another controversial incident involving President Reagan happened in summer of 1981 when PATCO, the union of federal air traffic controllers, went on strike, violating a federal law prohibiting government unions from striking. Reagan declared the situation an emergency as described in the 1947 Taft–Hartley Act, and stated that if the air traffic controllers “do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated”. They did not return and on August 5, Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order, and used supervisors and military controllers to handle the nation’s commercial air traffic until new controllers could be hired and trained. As a leading reference work on public administration concluded, “The firing of PATCO employees not only demonstrated a clear resolve by the president to take control of the bureaucracy, but it also sent a clear message to the private sector that unions no longer needed to be feared.”



In sport

  • In football (soccer), forty is generally considered to be the number of points that a Premier League team (or, by extension, a team in any 20-team league with a standard home-and-away season) needs to avoid relegation.
  • In baseball, each team in Major League Baseball is allowed to have 40 players under major-league contracts at any given time (not including players on the 60-day disabled list). From September 1 to the end of the regular season, teams are allowed to expand their game-day rosters to include the entire 40-man roster.
  • In tennis, the number 40 represents the third point gained in a game. A score of 40-40 (three points each) is called “deuce”, at which time a player must score two consecutive points to win the game.


  • Beginning with the 2013 season, forty cars will run each race in NASCAR’s second-level Nationwide Series.
  • The jersey number 40 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures:
  • In Major League Baseball: the Houston Astros, for Don Wilson; the Pittsburgh Pirates, for Danny Murtaugh, most noted as the team’s longtime manager.

Danny Murtaugh

  • In the NBA: the Denver Nuggets, for Byron Beck; the Detroit Pistons, for Bill Laimbeer.
Byron Beck
Byron Beck
  • In the NFL: the Arizona Cardinals, for Pat Tillman; the Chicago Bears, for Hall of Famer Gale Sayers; the New England Patriots, for Hall of Famer Mike Haynes; the New York Giants, for Joe Morrison; the Philadelphia Eagles, for Tom Brookshier.
Gale Sayers
Gale Sayers



In militaria

  • Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
  • Manufactured by Curtiss-Wright Corporation of Buffalo, New York and designed by Donovan Berlin, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk’s first flight was on 14 October 1938. Over 13,700 were built and during its twenty year life it was used by the United States Army Air Forces, the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, and many others. A single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft, it was used extensively by most Allied powers during World War II, and remained in front line service until the end of the war.
  • The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.
Curtiss P-40E Warhawk USAF
Curtiss P-40E Warhawk USAF


  • PPD40
  • The PPD (Pistolet-Pulemyot Degtyarova) was developed by famous Russian small arms designer Fedor Degtyarov. It was formally adopted by the Red Army in 1935 and entered limited production as the PPD-34. Made in small numbers, it was mostly relegated for NKVD use, mostly for border guards. Slightly modified in 1938, it was then produced until 1939 in PPD-34/38 variation, with newly developed 71 rounds drum with long neck.
  • After the Winter War experience (1940 war between USSR and Finland), new version of PPD has been rapidly developed, with the most visible change being the two-part stock, cut to accept new pattern of drums, which had no neck. This became the PPD-40.
  • After the outbreak of the Great Patriotic Warin 1941, it was soon been discovered that the PPD-40 is less than ideal for wartime production, so it was quickly replaced by the more efficient and inexpensive PPSh-41, which appeared in great numbers and was widely used by Red Army.
Pistolet-Pulemyot Degtyarova PPD40
Pistolet-Pulemyot Degtyarova PPD40


  • MP40
  • One of the most famous submachine gun designs in history, the M.P. 38 submachine gun started its life under requirements from German Heereswaffenamt (HWA, Army Weapons Office), which saw the need for a compact submachine gun, suitable for use by armored vehicles crews and paratroopers.
  • German arms-making company Erfurter Maschinenfabrik Gmbh, better known under its trade name Erma, began the development of a new weapon under HWA specifications. It was manufactured for just 2 years, when it was replaced in production by externally similar, but less expensive MP-40, which used more stamped parts instead of machined parts, found in MP-38.
  • There also were minor variations in design of MP-38, such as shape of cocking handle etc. MP-40 was also produced in a number of variations, which differed in shape of certain parts; also, toward the end of the war, several production shortcuts were introduced to save the costs of manufacturing. probably the most interesting variation of the MP-40 were the MP-40-II and MP-40-II. These guns featured dual magazine housings which hold two magazines in a laterally sliding bracket. This increase the total ammunition capacity “in the gun” to 64 rounds, in a desperate attempt to catch up with 71-round magazine capacity of Soviet PPSh-41. The later variant, MP-40-II, was made in limited numbers, but turned out to be a failure – sliding dual-magazine housing was a constant source of jams and failures, and was very sensitive to dirt and fouling.
  • Nevertheless, the MP-40 submachine guns were of good design, and set the pattern for so called “second generation” of submachine guns (“first generation” being represented by the wood-stocked and carefully machined MP-18, MP-28 and the like). The second generation weapons usually were of compact design, and made using mostly steel stampings and pressings, or castings.
  • Many MP-40 that survived the WW2, continued to serve up until late 1970s or early 1980s, in few European armies such as Austrian or Norwegian.



  • Taurus MP40
  • During the 1990s Taurus replaced in production its MT-12A submachine gun (licensed copy of the Beretta PM-12) with another foreign design, this time purchased from Chile.
  • Originally known as the FAMAE SAF, in Brazil it is made in a slightly modified form as the Taurus MT-9 (in 9mm Luger) and MT-40 (in .40SW, especially for the Brazilian police forces that favor this caliber). In this case, the MT index stands for Metralhadora Taurus – Taurus Submachine gun, and the digits denote a caliber.
  • Taurus also makes an interesting offshoot of the MT-40, the CT-40 semi-automatic carbine, which is also intended for police and security use but is restricted to semi-automatic fire and has somewhat longer barrel.

Taurus MP40


  • SVT-40
  • The SVT-38 (Samozaryadnaya Vintovka Tokareva – Tokarev Self-loading rifle) was originally adopted in the 1938 after more than 20 years of the research and development, done by famous Russian arms designer Fedor Tokarev. 
  • This rifle was made in relatively large numbers (more than 1 million made prior to 1945), and was originally issued as a standard infantry rifle, replacing the obsolete Mosin-Nagant M1891/30 bolt action rifles. A few SVT-40 were also manufactured in the sniper variant, (only about 50 000) equipped with scope mounts and telescopic sights, but accuracy was not sufficient. 
  • The SVT-40 had a somewhat controversial reputation. It was highly regarded by the enemies (Finns and Germans) and it was a very sought-after war trophy, re-issued to both German and Finnish troops. On the other hand, it was often considered unreliable and over-complicated by the Soviet troops (when comparing with old Mosin-Nagant rifles), but it was more to the poor training and maintenance, than to the rifle itself. Some better trained and educated Soviet troops, such as Sea Infantry (Marines, which always were some kind of elite in the Soviet army) used the SVT-40 with great deal of success.



  • Husqvarna M/40
  • The ‘Luger-like’ L-35 pistol was developed by the Finnish designer Aimo Lahti and manufactured by Finnish company VKT from 1935 until 1985 or so. It was adopted as a standard sidearm for Finnish army in 1935. 
  • In 1940, Sweden purchased a license for Lahti pistol, simplified it and began production as a Husqvarna M/40 pistol. Due to simplification and poor quality of steel used in M/40, these guns tended to crack when fired 9mm “submachinegun” ammunition, and also M/40 were less reliable than original L-35s, so in the 1980s almost all M/40s were recalled from military service and replaced by older m/07 pistol (licensed Browning M1903 pistols) as an emergency feature.

Husqvarna M40


  • HK-UMP40
  • The UMP (Universal Machinen-Pistole = Universal Submachine Gun) had been developed by the Heckler & Koch company of Germany in the mid- to late- 1990s and first appeared on the markets in 1999. The key idea behind the UMP was to create a lightweight and powerful submachine gun, that was also cheaper than one of the H&K’s flagships, the MP-5. UMP, being targeted primary for USA law enforcement market, first appeared in .45ACP and .40SW chamberings, and later – in 9mm. 
  • The UMP is a blowback-operated select-fire submachine gun, being fired from the closed bolt. The receiver is made from the polymer, the controls are fully ambidextrous. UMP can be fired in full-auto, in single shots, and in 2 or 3 round bursts (optional). UMP also has bolt hold-open device, which traps the bolt in the open position when the last round from magazine had been fired. UMP has side-folding buttstock and two set of picatinny rails – one on the top of the receiver, and the other – on the forend. These rails can accept wide variety of sighting and other equipment, such as red-dot sights, laser pointers, tactical grips and flashlights. The barrel has quick mount for snap-on silencer.
Heckler & Koch Universal Machinen-Pistole
Heckler & Koch Universal Machinen-Pistole



In books, music and movies

  • Forty Shades of Green is a visual term for rural Ireland, Johnny Cash popularised it with his 1961 song of the name.
  • “40” is a 1983 song by U2 from their album War
  • “40′” is the title of a song by Franz Ferdinand
  • The American-Japanese rock band Crush 40 from Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog video game series with Hardline vocalist Johnny Gioeli and guitarist Jun Senoue
  • Canadian hip-hop producer Noah Shebib is known as “40”.
  • A well known radio program is the American Top 40
  • Rick Dees hosts a Weekly Top 40 radio program
  • The best known story from a Thousand and One Nights is Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves which has been made in movie and cartoon versions

ali baba and the forty thieves

  • Movies with ’40’ in their titles include 
  • “40 Carats”, about a forty year old woman who was vacationing in Greece
  • “40 Days and Nights”, a modern take on a Noah’s Ark tale
  • “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, a comedy about, well, a 40 year old virgin

The 40 Year Old Virgin

  • “This is 40”, a sequel to the 2007 movie ‘Knocked Up’ about at the lives of characters Pete and Debbie a few years on. 



Other stuff

  • The expression “forty winks”, meaning a short sleep
  • There is the famous Saying “Life begins at forty”
  • Forty years of marriage is a ruby wedding anniversary
  • The international direct dial phone code for Romania is 40
  • The number of weeks for an average term of pregnancy, counting from the woman’s last menstrual period is forty.
  • There is an Arabic proverb that says, ‘To understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days.’
  • A regular work week in some western countries consists of forty hours.
  • There are forty spaces in a standard Monopoly game board

monopoly board



And finally,

Last, but definitely not least, perhaps one of the greatest ever inventions also carries the ’40’ tag. It is WD-40.

WD-40 is the trademark name of a penetrating oil and water-displacing spray, developed in 1953 by Norm Larsen, founder of the Rocket Chemical Company, in San Diego, California.

The term ‘WD-40’, is an abbreviation of the phrase “Water Displacement, 40th formula”.

Larsen was attempting to create a formula to prevent corrosion in nuclear missiles, by displacing the standing water that causes it. He claims he arrived at a successful formula, which is primarily composed of various hydrocarbons, on his 40th attempt.

WD-40 was first used by Convair to protect the outer skin, and more importantly, the paper thin “balloon tanks” of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion.

WD-40 first became commercially available on store shelves in San Diego in 1958

WD40 product range
The WD40 product range




Don’t Take My Word For It, Let These Guys Tell You Themselves

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


The elections are over, much to the relief of many of us, but unfortunately the politicians are still there. I have frequently criticized these idiots for making a monumental mess of things and for squandering billions of dollars on the most insanely stupid debacles and catastrophes. And I will probably do so again. 

However, it is always a good idea or policy to be able to back up what you say with some facts, so rather than run to my own defense which is usually what happens, this time I am going to let some of the politicians prove beyond any and all reasonable doubt that my opinion of them is well justified.

So here we have a selection of quotations from some fairly famous politicians in which they condemn themselves to the dustbin of stupidity.




Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States:

“Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women. And I hope I never get into that.”

Bill Clinton 

This from a congressional candidate in Texas:

“That scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it.”


Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California Governor talking about his views on the economy:

“The public doesn’t care about figures.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking as governor 

Jacques le Blanc, French ambassador on nuclear weapons:

“I do not like this word ‘bomb.’ It is not a bomb. It is a device that is exploding.”

Jacques LeBlanc 

Aggie Pate, at a non-denominational mayor’s breakfast, Fort Worth, Texas:

“I didn’t know Onward Christian Soldiers was a Christian song.”


California Senator Barbara Boxer:

“Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, ‘Thank God, I’m still alive.’ But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.”

Barbara Boxer 

Ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo:

“The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It’s only the people who make them unsafe.”

Frank Rizzo 

Congressman Everett Dirksen:

“A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money.”

Everett Dirksen 

Former U.S. President, Richard Nixon:

“Solutions are not the answer.”

Richard M Nixon 

H. Ross Perot, major Texas businessman and former presidential candidate:

“This planet is our home. If we destroy the planet, we’ve destroyed our home, so it is fundamentally important.”

 Ross Perot making a point

Arizona Governor Wesley Bolin:

“We’d like to avoid problems, because when we have problems, we can have troubles.”

Wesley Bolin 

George Wallace 1968 presidential campaign:

“I’ve read about foreign policy and studied, I now know the number of continents.”

George Wallace 

Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States:

“The world is more like it is now then it ever has before.”

Dwight D Eisenhower 

Fred Heineman, former Republican representative from North Carolina:

“When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that’s middle class.”

Fred Heineman 

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien:

“A proof is a proof. What kind of proof? It’s a proof. A proof is proof. And when you have a good proof, it’s because it is proven.”

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien

Imelda Marcos, former First Lady and a political figure in the Philippines:

“I get so tired listening to one million dollars here, one million dollars there, it’s so petty.”

Imelda Marcos 

Bob Dole, Republican presidential candidate:

“The internet is a great way to get on the net.”

Bob Dole 


Al Gore, former U.S. vice president:

“We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”

Al Gore 


Former California Governor Gray Davis, during the recall campaign:

“My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth.”

Former California Governor Gray Davis 

Charles De Gaulle, former French President:

“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.”

Charles De Gaulle 

President Clinton, denying that he had sexually harassed Kathleen Willey:

“I would never approach a small-breasted woman.”

Monica Lewinsky