Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today The Number Is Twenty-Five 25

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s been a while since I did a number factoid.

My only excuse is the time it takes to compile these, which I haven’t managed to find for a few months, so if you missed them my apologies.

However, there is one today, so if you like this sort of thing I hope you enjoy.

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The Number 25

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In religion

• In the Bible the number twenty-five is of cardinal importance in Ezekiel’s Temple Vision (Ezekiel 40-48).
• Twenty-five is also seen near God’s throne in heaven. God’s throne, plus the thrones of the twenty-four elders, makes for 25 total. (Revelation 4:1-4)
• Twenty-five pictures ‘grace upon grace.’ Redemption (20) plus grace (5) also equals 25. (John 1:14, 16-17)
• Levites were to begin serving at age 25 in assisting with sacrifices — which were a physical type of forgiveness and redemption for the people.
• Jehoshaphat, considered one of the best kings to rule the Kingdom of Judah, reigned for 25 years (872 – 848 B.C.).

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• In Islam, there are twenty-five prophets mentioned in the Quran.

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In mathematics

• 25 is a square number, being 5² = 5 × 5.
• 25 is the smallest square that is also a sum of two squares: 25 = 3² + 4². Hence it often appears in demonstrations of the Pythagorean theorem.

• 25 percent is equal to 1/4.
• Within base 10 one can readily test for divisibility by 25 by seeing if the last two digits of the number match 25, 50, 75 or 00.
• In base 30, 25 is a 1-automorphic number (displayed as the numeral ‘P’ or ‘R’ dependant on the chosen digit set), and in base 10 a 2-automorphic number.

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In science and technology

• Atomic Number of Manganese (Mn) = 25  (25 protons & 25 electrons)
• It is part of the name of LSD-25 molecule
• 25 is the usual TCP port for SMTP.
• 25 is the per-second frame rate of the PAL video standard
• And probably most significant of all, the internet or world wide web turned 25 this year!

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In space

• Open Cluster M25 (also known as Messier Object 25 or IC 4725) is an open cluster in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745 and included in Charles Messier’s list in 1764.
• NGC 25 is a lenticular galaxy situated in the Phoenix constellation
• The Sun rotates once in 25 days near the poles and about 30 days near its equator.
• 25 is the number of days approximately that takes the sun to do a complete rotation on itself.

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In politics

• William McKinley (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination in September 1901, six months into his second term. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals. He was also the last President to have served during the Civil War.

• The Twenty-fifth Amendment (Amendment XXV) to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities. It supersedes the ambiguous wording of Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution, which does not expressly state whether the Vice President becomes the President, as opposed to an Acting President, if the President dies, resigns, is removed from office or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers of the presidency. The Twenty-fifth Amendment was adopted on February 23, 1967.
• 25 is the minimum age of candidates for election to the United States House of Representatives.
• 25 is the (critical) number of Florida electoral votes for the 2000 U.S. presidential election
• 25 is the number of the French department Doubs

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In books, music, movies and TV

• “25” is a song by Veruca Salt from their 1994 album American Thighs.
• “25th Floor” is a song by Patti Smith Group from their 1978 album Easter.
• Twenty Five is the name of a 2006 George Michael compilation celebrating 25 years in the music business (1981–2006).
• “In the Year 2525 (Exordium et Terminus)” is a 1969 hit song by the American pop-rock duo of Zager and Evans. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
• The 25th Hour is a MGM film (1967) with screen-play by Henri Verneuil based on C. Virgil Gheorghiu’s novel.
• Not forgetting our old friend, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”

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In sport

• Twenty-five is the value of the outer bullseye on a dart board.
• Twenty-five is the size of the full roster on a Major League Baseball team for most of the season, except for regular-season games on or after September 1, when teams may expand their roster to no more than 40 players.
• In baseball, the number 25 is typically reserved for the best slugger on the team. Examples include Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Mark Teixeira.

• The number of points needed to win a set in volleyball under rally scoring rules (except for the fifth set), so long as the losing team’s score is two less than the winning team’s score (i.e., if the winning team scores 25 points, the losing team can have no more than 23 points).
• In U.S. college football, schools that are members of NCAA Division I FBS are allowed to provide athletic scholarships to a maximum of 25 new football players (i.e., players who were not previously receiving scholarships) each season.
• In the NBA the number 25 jersey has been retired by the Boston Celtics for K. C. Jones; by the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mark Price; by the Los Angeles Lakers for Gail Goodrich; and by the Washington Wizards for Gus Johnson (the team was then known as the Baltimore Bullets).
• In the NHL the number 25 jersey has been retired by the  Winnipeg Jets for Thomas Steen.

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In automotive and transportation

• In the United States 25 is the designation of United States Interstate 25, a freeway that runs from New Mexico to Wyoming.
• In Britain M25 is the designation of the London Orbital motorway.

• And in Russia Municipal Okrug 25, until March, 2010, was the name of Knyazhevo Municipal Okrug in Kirovsky District of Saint Petersburg.

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• The Carlsson C25 Supercar
• Carlsson’s first supercar, the C25, made its debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. With a limited run of 25 units, the C25 is powered by a twin-turbocharged V12 engine that generates 753 hp (562 kW) and 848 ft·lbf (1,150 N·m) of torque. Estimated acceleration from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds and top speed is 219 mph. (355 km/h).

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• Donkervoort Prototype J25
• Under the code name J25, Donkervoort developed – right before its 25 year jubilee – a completely new car. This model went a step further in its styling than its predecessors the S8 and D8. The, for that period, very modern lines and a number of details, such the little doors and nose used, were derived from the D20. The J25 was also the first Donkervoort to be produced with 270 bhp.

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• Infiniti G25
• Infiniti debuted the G25 sedan at the 2010 Paris Auto Show. The G25 is powered by a 2.5 L V6 VQ25HR producing 218 hp (163 kW) and 187 lb·ft (254 N·m) of torque. The G25’s JDM relative, the Nissan Skyline 250 GT Sedan which features the same engine, had been on sale for several years already.

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• BMW R25
• The 1951 the 250cc R25 single was BMW’s first postwar single-cylinder motorcycle with a rear suspension.

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• Yamaha R25
• The Yamaha R25 is the first motorcycle by Yamaha in the 250cc segment. It is a 2-cylinder, liquid cooled motorcycle, using an advanced fuel injection system. It also has a tubular chassis with telescopic front suspension.

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• C25 Standard RV
• The C25 is a traditional motorhome with the self-contained features you expect, including most with a power generator in the USA.

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• David Brown DB25 Tractor
• David Brown developed the 25hp and 30hp engine, and so the DB25 and DB30 tractors came into existence, lasting from 1953-58. The petrol/TVO models were known as the David Brown 25C and 30C, while they called the diesel versions 25D and 30D. They are still collected and restored by enthusiasts today.

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J25 Steam Engine

The NER Class P1 (LNER Class J25) was a class of 0-6-0 steam locomotives of the North Eastern Railway in Great Britain. Class P1 was a development of Class P, having a boiler four inches longer, and a firebox six inches longer. To accommodate these, the wheelbase was increased by nine inches. The cylinder stroke was also increased by two inches.

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In militaria

• B-25 Mitchell
• Named in honor of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation, the B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation that saw service over four decades. By the end of its production, nearly 10,000 B-25s in numerous models had been built.
• It was used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as many other air forces after the war ended, including The Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Dutch Air Force, Soviet Air Force, China Air Force, Brazilian Air Force,  and by the Free French.

• However, the incident for which the B-25 is perhaps best known is one that happened in America. At 9:40 on Saturday, 28 July 1945, a USAAF B-25D crashed in thick fog into the north side of the Empire State Building between the 79th and 80th floors.
• Fourteen people died – eleven in the building and the three occupants of the aircraft including the pilot, Colonel William Smith.
• Betty Lou Oliver, an elevator attendant, survived the impact and a subsequent uncontrolled descent in the elevator.
• Partly as a result of this incident, Towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center were designed to withstand an aircraft impact. However, this design was based on an impact by a Boeing 707 aircraft in common use in the late 1960s and early 1970s, not the larger Boeing 767, two of which, (American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175), struck the towers on September 11, 2001, resulting in their eventual collapse.

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• Boeing VC-25
• The Boeing VC-25 is the United States Air Force designation for a military version of the Boeing 747 airliner. The A-model (VC-25A) is the only variant of the VC-25.
• The VC-25 is most famous for its role as Air Force One, the call sign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. The two aircraft currently in U.S. service are highly modified versions of Boeing’s 747-200B, with tail numbers 28000 and 29000.
• Although the Air Force One designation technically applies to the aircraft only while the President is aboard, the term is commonly applied to the VC-25s more generally.
• They often operate in conjunction with Marine One helicopters that ferry the President to airports in circumstances where a vehicle motorcade would be inappropriate.

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• MIG-25
• The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service.
• It was designed by the Soviet Union’s Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau. The first prototype flew in 1964, and the aircraft entered into service in 1970.
• It has a top speed of Mach 2.83 (as high as Mach 3.2, but at risk of significant damage to the engines), and features a powerful radar and four air-to-air missiles.
• When first seen in reconnaissance photography, the large wing planform suggested an enormous and highly maneuverable fighter. This was during a period of time when U.S. design theories were also evolving towards higher maneuverability due to combat performance in the Vietnam War.
• The capabilities of the MiG-25 were better understood in 1976 when Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko defected in a MiG-25 to the United States via Japan. It turned out that the weight of the aircraft necessitated large wings.
• Production of the MiG-25 series ended in 1984 after completion of 1,190 aircraft. A symbol of the Cold War, the MiG-25 flew with Soviet allies and former Soviet republics, remaining in limited service in Russia and several other nations.
• It is the second fastest and second highest-flying military aircraft ever fielded after the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft.

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• USS Terry (DD-25)
• Launched on 21 August 1909 and commissioned on 18 October 1910, the USS Terry (DD-25) was a modified Paulding-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I, and later in the United States Coast Guard, designated CG-19. She was the first ship named for Edward Terry.
• During WWI USS Terry patrolled along the Atlantic coast escorting merchantmen bound for Europe. In January 1918, Terry put to sea for operations with the destroyer force based at Queenstown, Ireland where she escorted convoys through the submarine-infested waters surrounding the British Isles.
• In December 1918, Terry returned to the United States, and after 11 months of extremely limited service, she was decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 13 November 1919.
• She remained there until she was transferred to the Coast Guard on 7 June 1924. Based in New York, she served as part of the Rum Patrol, until 18 October 1930, when she was returned to the Navy and restored on the Navy list in a decommissioned status, listed as a “vessel to be disposed of by sale or salvage.” On 2 May 1934, Terry was sold for scrapping. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 June 1934.

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• USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25)
• Launched on 23 January 1929 and commissioned on 11 December 1929, the USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25) was a Pensacola-class heavy cruiser sometimes known as “Swayback Maru” or “Old Swayback”. She had the (unofficial) distinction of having taken part in more engagements than any other ship in the fleet. She was also the first ship to be named after Salt Lake City, Utah.
• From August–October 1942, Salt Lake City was in the south Pacific to support the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal. She escorted Wasp during the landings of 7–8 August and subsequent operations.
• Surviving two atomic bomb blasts, she was decommissioned on 29 August and laid up to await ultimate disposal. She was sunk as a target hull on 25 May 1948, 130 mi (110 nmi; 210 km) off the coast of southern California
• Salt Lake City received 11 battle stars for her World War II service, and a Navy Unit Commendation for her actions during the Aleutian Campaign.

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• USS Potomac (AG-25)
• The USS Potomac (AG-25), formerly USCGC Electra, was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidential yacht from 1936 until his death in 1945.
• On 3 August 1941, she played a decoy role while Roosevelt held a secret conference to develop the Atlantic Charter.
• She is now preserved in Oakland, California, as a National Historic Landmark.

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• USS Copeland (FFG-25)
• The USS Copeland (FFG-25), the first ship of that name in the US Navy, was the seventeenth ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided-missile frigates. She was named for Rear Admiral Robert W. Copeland (1910–1973).
• Copeland was launched on 26 July 1980, and commissioned on 7 August 1982.
• Decommissioned and stricken on 18 September 1996, she was transferred to Egypt the same day as Mubarak (F911). After the 2011 revolution the ship was renamed to remove the former ruler’s name. The ship is currenty named Alexandria (F911) and remains in active service with the Egyptian Navy.

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• USS Bainbridge
• The nuclear powered USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25/CGN-25) was initially classed as a guided missile destroyer leader in the United States Navy, and later re-designated as a guided missile cruiser in 1975.
• In 1966–67, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972–73, USS Bainbridge was involved Vietnam War combat operations, as well as voyages to Australia, the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
• In 1982 she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award.
• After receiving her final nuclear refueling overhaul in 1983–85, Bainbridge operations included counter-drug smuggling patrols in the Caribbean, several deployments to northern European waters and four Mediterranean cruises including combat operations off Libya.
• During 1994 she was deployed to support UN resolutions that became part of Operation Sharp Guard, enforcing sanctions against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia.
• Finally deactivated in October 1995, Bainbridge was decommissioned in September 1996 and towed to Bremerton, Washington in mid-1997 where she was put in dry dock to begin “recycling,” the process by which nuclear-powered warships are scrapped.

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• USS Somerset (LPD-25)
• The USS Somerset (LPD-25), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, is the fifth ship of the United States Navy of that name; in this case in honor of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
• The name honors the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 whose actions prevented terrorist hijackers from reaching their intended target, forcing the airplane to crash in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County, PA, on September 11, 2001. In the words of Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, “The courage and heroism of the people aboard the flight will never be forgotten and USS Somerset will leave a legacy that will never be forgotten by those wishing to do harm to this country.”
• Some 22 tons of steel from a crane that stood near Flight 93’s crash site have been used to construct Somerset’s stemhold.
• She was launched on 14 April 2012, and was christened three months later, on 28 July.

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• HMS Medway
• HMS Medway was the first purpose-built submarine depot ship constructed for the Royal Navy. She was built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness during the late 1920s. The ship served on the China Station before the Second World War and was transferred to Egypt in early 1940.
• Ordered to evacuate Alexandria in the face of the German advance after the Battle of Gazala in May 1942, Medway sailed for Lebanon at the end of June, escorted by a light cruiser and seven destroyers.
• Despite her strong escort, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on 30 June.

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• HMS Warwick (D-25)
• HMS Warwick (D-25) was an Admiralty ‘W’ class destroyer built in 1917.
• She saw service in both the First and Second World Wars, before being torpedoed and sunk in February 1944.

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• T-25 Tank
• The T25 Medium Tank was a prototype tank that was produced by the United States during World War II.
• It had an armament consisting of a 90 mm anti-tank gun, two .30 MGs, one mounted coaxially and one in the bow, and a .50 Browning M2 mount on top of the turret. The vehicle had a crew of five, a weight of 35,100 kg, used the same 474 hp, GAN V8 engine as the earlier T23, and had a top speed of 48 km/h.
• The T25 was developed with a variant which itself was virtually the same, the only difference was that the T25 was built with horizontal volute spring suspension, and the variant T25E1 had the torsion bar suspension later adopted for use in the M26. Only 40 T25 and T25E1 prototypes were built.

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• M25 “Three Shot Bazooka”
• Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless antitank rocket launcher weapon, widely fielded by the United States Army. Also referred to as the “Stovepipe”, the innovative bazooka was among the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat.
• Featuring a solid rocket motor for propulsion, it allowed for high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads to be delivered against armored vehicles, machine gun nests, and fortified bunkers at ranges beyond that of a standard thrown grenade or mine. The Bazooka also fired a HESH round, effective against buildings and tank armour.
• The universally-applied nickname arose from the M1 variant’s vague resemblance to the musical instrument called a “bazooka” invented and popularized by 1930s U.S. comedian Bob Burns.
• The M25 “Three Shot Bazooka” was an experimental tripod mounted rocket launcher with overhead magazine circa 1955.

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• Remington R-25
• The Remington R-25 is a hi-tech hunting rifle that uses the direct-impingement gas system, where gas is ported down a tube into the action and the bolt carrier is cycled via the gas blowing the carrier off the tube.
• The upper and lower receivers are made from aluminum forgings, and the handguard is turned aluminum, all impervious to the weather; climate changes will have no effect on accuracy or bedding.
• Additionally, the R-25 has a Mossy Oak Treestand coating, so if you aren’t careful in the woods, you may spend some time hunting for the rifle you set down while doing something else.
• The magazine holds four rounds, a prudent choice since the purpose of the R-25 is hunting.

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• Glock 25
• The Glock 25 in low-recoil .380 AUTO was introduced in 1995 in Germany. This small-dimension firearm was developed for markets where civilian personnel are not allowed to possess handguns featuring military calibers.
• In the USA, the G25 .380 AUTO is reserved for law enforcement agencies only.

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• Zastava P25
• The Zastava P25, manufactured by Zastava Arms of Serbia and nicknamed the Dark Lady, is a blowback-operated, single-action, semi-automatic pocket pistol chambered in .25 ACP.
• The pistol frame is made of aluminum alloy and the barrel is made of alloy steel, while the handgrips are usually made of walnut or polymer materials.
• The P25 is aimed extensively at the civilian market as a self-defense weapon due to its concealability, but is somewhat less favorable compared to the M57, M88 and CZ 99 pistols due to its small caliber.

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• A&K SR-25
• The A&K SR-25 Full Metal AEG is very accurate and a good  range for this type of weapon It is semi and full auto capable and has a 300rd High Capacity magazine and fast rate of fire
• This airsoft sniper rifle is built like a tank, with a full metal upper and lower receiver and a full metal rail system. The A&K SR-25 performs better than almost all other SR-25 AEGs on the market, and includes more accessories than any other SR-25 AEG.

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• K-25
• K-25 is a former uranium enrichment facility of the Manhattan Project which used the gaseous diffusion method. The plant is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the southwestern end of the Oak Ridge Reservation.

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In other stuff

• Illinois is the 25th largest state in America.
• Nashville, Tennessee is the 25th largest city in the United States by size of population.
• South Africa is the 25th largest Country in the world by area.
• France is the 25th richest country in the world, based on Gross Domestic Product (PPP) Per Capita 2009-2013.
• There are 25 cents in a quarter.

• A ‘Pony’ is British slang for £25.
• Christmas Day is December 25
• 25 is the number of years of marriage marked in a silver wedding anniversary.
• 25 is the name of the national card game of Ireland related to the classic Spanish game of ombre. It was played under the name maw by the British King James I and was later called spoil five from one of its principal objectives. From it derives the Canadian game of forty-fives.
• Pachisi, which is Hindi for 25, is the name of the national board game of India.

• “twentyfive”, is a design studio in the Czech Republic
• 25 is the total number of playable characters in Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Melee.
• “25 boy” (read as “two-five boy”), in Cantonese Chinese, is a slang term meaning “traitor” as used in the Chinese movie Over the Edge.
• 25 random things about me, an Internet meme utilizing Facebook’s Notes feature
• 25 is the usual minimum age for car rental in most countries.
• “Under 25″ provides a common cut-off point for designating youth.
• The year 25 BC was a leap year.
• 25 Burgers opened its first Location in Bound Brook NJI in the Spring of 2009, serving 25 Choices of Fresh Made to Order Gourmet Burgers in a Clean and Friendly Environment.

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Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today The Number Is Twenty-One 21

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Today a number that many people like and hold to be ‘lucky’.

The Number 21

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In religion

• Number of the perfection by excellence, 3 x 7, according to the Bible.
• 21 represents the harmony of the creation.
• Mary, mother of Jesus, lived 21 years after the death Jesus
• There were 21 years between the presentation of Jesus to the Temple at 12 years old and his death at 33 years old.
• In the same day, Jesus appears in 21 different places in Palestine to confirm in His Resurrection.
• The word angel is pronounced 21 times by Jesus, always to the plural.
• The words Flood and star are used 21 times in the Bible.
• In the Revelation, the word “capacity” (capacity of decision or to act, by opposition to “power”) is used 21 times.

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In mathematics

21 is a Triangular, Octagonal, Fibonacci, and Motzkin Number.

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In science & technology

• The Chemical Element Scandium has an atomic number of 21.
• There are 21 amino-acids.
• 21 is the standard TCP/IP port number for FTP connections

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In space and aviation

• Messier 21 or M21
• Messier 21 or M21 (also designated NGC 6531) is an open cluster of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius. It was discovered and catalogued by Charles Messier on June 5, 1764.
•  It is tightly packed but contains about 57 stars. A few blue giant stars have been identified in the cluster, but Messier 21 is composed mainly of small dim stars. With a magnitude of 6.5, M21 is not visible to the naked eye; however, with the smallest binoculars it can be easily spotted on a dark night.

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• Expedition 21
• Expedition 21 was the 21st long-duration mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The expedition began on 30 September 2009, with Frank de Winne becoming the first ESA astronaut to command a space mission.

• The handover between Expedition 20 and Expedition 21 required three Soyuz vehicles being docked to the station at the same time, the first time this has occurred.
• Soyuz TMA-16 brought the final members of Expedition 21 to the ISS, along with space tourist Guy Laliberté. Laliberté returned to Earth on Soyuz TMA-14 with two members of Expedition 20 on 11 October 2009.
• Nicole P. Stott was the last ISS expedition crew member to fly on the Space Shuttle. She returned to Earth aboard STS-129 in November 2009.

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• Luna 21
• Luna 21 (Ye-8 series) was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program, also called Lunik 21. The spacecraft landed on the Moon and deployed the second Soviet lunar rover (Lunokhod 2). The primary objectives of the mission were to collect images of the lunar surface, examine ambient light levels to determine the feasibility of astronomical observations from the Moon, perform laser ranging experiments from Earth, observe solar X-rays, measure local magnetic fields, and study mechanical properties of the lunar surface material.

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• Number 21
• Number 21 is the name of the plane alleged flown by Gustave Whitehead two years before the Wright brothers’ flight

In politics

• 21st President of the United States
• Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886) was the 21st President of the United States (1881–85). He became President after the assassination of President James A. Garfield.
• Born in Fairfield, Vermont, Arthur grew up in upstate New York and practiced law in New York City. He devoted much of his time to Republican politics and quickly rose in the political machine run by New York Senator Roscoe Conkling.
• Appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to the lucrative and politically powerful post of Collector of the Port of New York in 1871, Arthur was an important supporter of Conkling and the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party.
• In 1878 the new president, Rutherford B. Hayes, fired Arthur as part of a plan to reform the federal patronage system in New York. When James Garfield won the Republican nomination for President in 1880, Arthur was nominated for Vice President to balance the ticket by adding an eastern Stalwart to it.
• After just half a year as vice president, Garfield was assassinated and Arthur unexpectedly became the 21st President of the united states.
• To the surprise of reformers, Arthur took up the reform cause that had once led to his expulsion from office. He signed the Pendleton Act into law, and enforced its provisions vigorously.
• Suffering from poor health, Arthur made only a limited effort to secure renomination in 1884; he retired at the close of his term. As journalist Alexander McClure would later write, “No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired … more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe.”

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• 21st Amendment
• The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, thereby ending Prohibition.

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• 21st State
• Illinois – the ‘Land of Lincoln’ – was the 21st state to join the United States.
• Abraham Lincoln moved to Illinois when he was 21 and he met his future wife – Mary Todd – in Springfield when she was 21.
• Illinois currently has 21 electoral votes in the US Presidential Election.

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• Canada – Pier 21
• Pier 21 was, from 1928 to 1971, was the place where immigrants entered Canada. It was called the “Gateway to Canada.”

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• France – King Louis XVI
• 21 was a significant number in the life of French King Louis XVI
• On January 21, 1770, Louis XVI became engaged;
• On June 21, 1770, he got married;
• On January 21, 1782, he promulgated the suspension of a tax;
• On January 21, 1784 an enormous obelisk of snow was raised for him on the place Louis XV;
• On June 21, 1791,  Louis XVI was arrested;  and,
• On January 21, 1793, he goes up to the scaffold.
• Finally, the 5 letters of his first name added to XVI gives 21.

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• Japan-China
• The Twenty-One Demands were a set of demands which were sent to the Chinese government by the Japanese government of Okuma Shigenobu in 1915.

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• Poland
• The 21 Demands of MKS led to the foundation of Solidarity in Poland.

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In folklore, legends and mythology

• The Mayan Calendar
• December 21st 2012, according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar was the predicted date of an apocalyptic event: ‘The planets are aligned the sun will activate, let the deluge come’.
• It turned out to be bollocks though (see also this post)

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• Ghost Ship 21
• A ghost ship, also known as a phantom ship, is a ship with no living crew aboard. It may be a ghostly vessel in folklore or fiction, such as the Flying Dutchman, or a real derelict found adrift with its crew missing or dead, like the Mary Celeste. The term is sometimes also used for ships that have been decommissioned but not yet scrapped.
• There have been many examples throughout history, for example,
• Undated: The Caleuche is a mythical ghost ship which, according to local folklore and Chilota mythology, sails the seas around Chiloé Island, Chile, at night.
• 1738 onwards: The Palatine Light, a ship who lost half her crew running aground off Rhode Island, possibly being lured there and pillaged by the locals. Said to appear every December.
• 1748 onwards: The Lady Lovibond is said to have been deliberately wrecked on Goodwin Sands on 13 February and to reappear off the Kent coast every fifty years.
• 1786 onwards: The Ghost Ship of Northumberland Strait, a burning ship seen regularly between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
• 1795 onwards: The Flying Dutchman, a ship manned by a captain condemned to eternally sail the seas, has long been the principal ghost ship legend among mariners and has inspired several works.
• 1813 onwards: After the American schooner Young Teazer was sunk in an explosion during the War of 1812, a burning apparition known as the “Teazer Light” has been reported off Maine.
• 1858 onwards: The Eliza Battle, a paddle steamer that burned in 1858 on the Tombigbee River in Alabama, is purported to reappear, fully aflame, on cold and windy winter nights to foretell of impending disaster.
• 1878 onwards: An apparition has been reported where the HMS Eurydice sank off the Isle of Wight. Witnesses include a Royal Navy submarine in the 1930s and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, in 1998.
• 1872 or 1882: The Iron Mountain riverboat, according to legend, mysteriously disappeared while travelling the Mississippi River and left the barges it was towing adrift. In reality, the ship sank in 1882 near Vicksburg after running aground, and its fate was never mysterious.
• 1928: The København was last heard from on December 28, 1928. For two years following its disappearance sightings of a mysterious five-masted ship fitting its description were reported in the Pacific Ocean.
• Historically attested
• 1855: HMS Resolute was discovered drifting off the coast of Baffin Island. It had been one of four vessels from Edward Belcher’s search expedition for John Franklin that had been abandoned the previous year when it was trapped in pack ice in Viscount Melville Sound. The ship drifted some 1,200 miles (1,900 km) before it was found, freed from the ice.
• 1872: Amazon (later renamed Mary Celeste). In 1872 the Mary Celeste, perhaps the most historically famous derelict, was found abandoned between mainland Portugal and the Azores archipelago. It was devoid of all crew, but largely intact and under sail, heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. While Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement” based on this ship added some strange phenomena to the tale (such as that the tea found in the mess hall was still hot), the fact remained that the last log entry was 11 days prior to the discovery of the ship.
• 1884: In 1884 the Resolven was found abandoned between Baccalieu Island and Catalina, Newfoundland and Labrador, with its lifeboat missing. Other than a broken yard, it had suffered minimal damage. A large iceberg was sighted nearby. It has been claimed that none of the seven crew members or four passengers were accustomed to northern waters and it was suggested that they panicked when the ship was damaged by ice,[9] launched the lifeboat, and swamped, though no bodies were found. Three years later, Resolven was wrecked while returning to Newfoundland from Nova Scotia with a load of lumber.
• 1917: Zebrina, a sailing barge, departed Falmouth, England, with a cargo of Swansea coal bound for Saint-Brieuc, France. Two days later she was discovered aground on Rozel Point, south of Cherbourg, without damage except for some disarrangement of her rigging, but with her crew missing.
• 1921: The Carroll A. Deering, a five-masted cargo schooner, was found stranded on a beach on Diamond Shoals, North Carolina. The ship’s final voyage had been the subject of much debate and controversy, and was investigated by six departments of the US government, largely because it was one of dozens of ships that sank or went missing within a relatively short period of time. While paranormal explanations have been advanced, the theories of mutiny or piracy are considered more likely.
• 1931: The Baychimo was abandoned in the Arctic Ocean when it became trapped in pack ice and was thought doomed to sink, but remained afloat and was sighted numerous times over the next 38 years without ever being salvaged.
• 1933: A lifeboat from the 1906 wreck of the passenger steamship SS Valencia off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island was found floating in the area in remarkably good condition 27 years after the sinking. Sailors have also reported seeing the ship itself in the area in the years following the sinking, often as an apparition that followed down the coast.
• 1955: The MV Joyita was discovered abandoned in the Pacific. A subsequent inquiry found the vessel was in a poor state of repair, but determined the fate of passengers and crew to be “inexplicable on the evidence submitted at the inquiry”.
• 1959: A ghost submarine was found floating without a crew in the Bay of Biscay off northern Spain. It was later discovered that the empty sub was being towed by another vessel and the chain had snapped.
• 1969: The Teignmouth Electron was found adrift and unoccupied in the Atlantic Ocean. Investigation led to the conclusion that its sole crewmember, Donald Crowhurst, had suffered a psychiatric breakdown while competing in a solo around-the-world race and committed suicide by jumping overboard.
• 2003: The High Aim 6 was found drifting in Australian waters, 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) east of Rowley Shoals, with its crew missing. The derelict was subsequently scuttled.
• 2006: The tanker Jian Seng was found off the coast of Weipa, Queensland Australia in March. Its origin or owner could not be determined, and its engines had been inoperable for some time.
• 2006: In August the “Bel Amica” was discovered off the coast of Sardinia. The Coast Guard crew that discovered the ship found half eaten Egyptian meals, French maps of North African seas, and a flag of Luxembourg on board.
• 2007: A 12-metre catamaran, the Kaz II, was discovered unmanned off the coast of Queensland, northeast Australia in April.[18] The yacht, which had left Airlie Beach on Sunday 15 April, was spotted about 80 nautical miles (150 km) off Townsville, near the outer Great Barrier Reef on the following Wednesday. When boarded on Friday, the engine was running, a laptop was running, the radio and GPS were working and a meal was set to eat, but the three-man crew were not on board. All the sails were up but one was badly shredded, while three life jackets and survival equipment, including an emergency beacon, were found on board. A search for the crew was abandoned on Sunday 22nd as it was considered unlikely that anyone could have survived for that period of time.
• 2008: The abandoned 50 ton Taiwanese fishing vessel Tai Ching 21 was found drifting near Kiribati on 9 November. The ship had suffered a fire several days previously, and its lifeboat and three life rafts were missing. No mayday call was received, and the ship had last been heard from on 28 October. A search of 21,000 square miles (54,000 square km) of the Pacific Ocean north of Fiji by a US Air Force C-130 Hercules and a New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion found no trace of the Taiwanese captain or crew (18 Chinese, 6 Indonesians, and 4 Filipinos).
• 2012: The Ryou-Un Maru, a Japanese fishing vessel swept away by the March 2011 tsunami, was found floating adrift towards Canada after nearly a year at sea, no crew believed to be on board. The vessel was sunk on April 5, 2012 by the United States Coast Guard.

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In sports

• The jersey number 21 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures:
• In Major League Baseball: the Cleveland Indians, for Hall of Famer Bob Lemon, the Milwaukee Braves, for Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (the number continues to be honored by the team in its current home of Atlanta);  the Pittsburgh Pirates, for Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente (following his death in a plane crash while attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua);

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• In the NBA: the Atlanta Hawks, for Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins; the Boston Celtics, for Hall of Famer Bill Sharman; the Detroit Pistons, for Hall of Famer Dave Bing; the Sacramento Kings, for Vlade Divac; the Minnesota Timberwolves have not retired the number, but have not issued it since Kevin Garnett was traded from the team in 2007.

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• In the NHL: the Chicago Blackhawks, for Hall of Famer Stan Mikita; the Colorado Avalanche, for likely future Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg; the Pittsburgh Penguins, for Michel Brière; the Toronto Maple Leafs have a policy of not retiring numbers unless the player honored either died or suffered a career-ending incident while a member of the team. Other players whose numbers would otherwise be retired instead have their numbers enshrined by the team as “Honored Numbers”, which remain in circulation for future players. The number 21 is currently honored for Hall of Famer Börje Salming.

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• No NFL team has retired the number 21.

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• In basketball: 21 is a variation of street basketball, in which each player, of which there can be any number, plays for himself only (i.e. not part of a team); the name comes from the requisite number of baskets.
• In 3×3, a formalized version of three-on-three half-court basketball, the game ends by rule once either team has scored 21 points in regulation. Scoring is significantly different from traditional basketball rules, with free throws and baskets made from inside the three-point arc worth 1 point, and baskets made from outside the arc worth 2 points.
• In badminton, and table tennis (before 2001), 21 points are required to win a game.
• Eyeshield 21 is a Japanese anime about football.
• In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series the number 21 has long been the car number for Wood Brothers Racing

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In books, music, tv and movies

• 21 is the sophomore album from British singer-songwriter Adele, recently acclaimed for her title song for the Bond movie Skyfall.
• Century 21 Television (producers of Sylvia and Gerry Anderson Supermarionation shows like Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons).
• Cinema 21 is an independently-owned movie theatre in Portland, Oregon featuring art house films. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97209 USA
• Cinema 21, is also the name of the largest cinema chain in Indonesia, established in the entertainment industry in 1987.
• “21” is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.
• Wedding In Las Vegas is a docu-drama about a group of students who, using a wedding as a cover story, also defeat the casino’s Blackjack tables using card counting techniques.

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In militaria

• Mig-21
• The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It was popularly nicknamed “balalaika”, from the aircraft’s planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument or olówek (English: pencil) by Polish pilots due to the shape of its fuselage.
• Early versions are considered second-generation jet fighters, while later versions are considered to be third-generation jet fighters.
• Some 50 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. The fighter made aviation records. At least by name, it is the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and it had the longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 over all variants).

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• IAI Kfir F-21
• The Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir F-21 is an Israeli-built all-weather, multirole combat aircraft based on a modified French Dassault Mirage 5 airframe, with Israeli avionics and an Israeli-made version of the General Electric J79 turbojet engine.
• The Kfir entered service with the IAF in 1975, the first units being assigned to the 101st “First Fighter” Squadron. Over the following years, several other squadrons were also equipped with the new aircraft. The role of the Kfir as the IAF’s primary air superiority asset was short-lived, as the first F-15 Eagle fighters from the United States were delivered to Israel in 1976.
• The Kfir’s first recorded combat action took place on November 9, 1977, during an Israeli air strike on a training camp at Tel Azia, in Lebanon. The only air victory claimed by a Kfir during its service with the IAF occurred on June 27, 1979 when a Kfir C.2 shot down a Syrian MiG-21.
• Twenty-five modified Kfir C.1s were leased to the US Navy and the US Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989, to act as adversary aircraft in dissimilar air combat training (DACT). These aircraft, designated F-21A Kfir, had narrow-span canard foreplanes and a single small rectangular strake on either side of the nose which considerably improved the aircraft’s maneuverability and handling at low speeds.

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• Blücher 21 cm/45 (8.27″) SK L/45
• Used afloat only on the Armored Cruiser Blücher which was sunk at the World War I battle of Dogger Bank.  After her sinking, four reserve guns were given to the German Army.
• During World War II these guns were used as coastal artillery.  They were then supplied with a better ballistically shaped shell and with a larger propellant charge for increased range.
• Constructed of a tube, two layers of hoops and a jacket.  Used the Krupp horizontal sliding wedge breech block.  About 16 guns were made.

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• 21-K
• The 45 mm anti-aircraft gun (21-K) was a Soviet design adapted from the 45 mm anti-tank gun M1937 (53-K). This was a copy of a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) German weapon designed by Rheinmetall that was sold to the Soviets before Hitler came to power in 1933 that had been enlarged to 45 mm (1.8 in) in increase its penetrating power.
• It was used by the Soviet Navy to equip almost all of their ships from 1934 as its primary light anti-aircraft gun until replaced by the fully automatic 37 mm 70-K gun from 1942 to 1943.
• It was used in World War II and during the Cold War as the Soviets exported their World War II-era ships to their friends and allies.
• However it was not very effective as its slow rate of fire and lack of a time fuze required a direct hit to damage targets.

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• GAU-21 (M3M)
• The M3M was designated by the U.S. Navy as the GAU-21 in 2004 and is currently used by all services within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
• An evolution of the M3 .50-caliber heavy machine gun, it produces a blistering 1,100 rounds per minute cyclic rate of fire through the use of open-bolt operation and a dual recoil buffer system. Operating independent of either electrical or hydraulic power sources, the M3M/GAU-21’s unique soft mount system enhances weapon accuracy and minimizes the firing vibration transmitted to the airframe.
• FN Herstal has been awarded a solesource U.S. Navy contract to produce the M3M .50 caliber machine guns under the Gun, Aircraft, Unit-21 (GAU-21) designation for Navy and Marine Corps rotary-wing assault aircraft.
• The FN GAU-21 (M3M) is a .50 caliber (12.7x99mm) single barrel rapid-fire machine gun suitable for rotary-wing aircraft applications providing defensive firepower ranging out to nearly 2000 meters.

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• BRNO 21
• BRNO is neither German nor Austrian (although it was once located in the Austro-Hungarian Empire), but they produced the BRNO model designation 21 and 22 as post-War sporting rifles.

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• GLOCK 21
• Almpst an American icon, the Glock 21 is a .45 caliber pistol. Countless law enforcement units swear by this superior pistol for more than just its above-average magazine capacity of 13 rounds.

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• SIG SAUER® P210®
• The SIG SAUER® P210®, the timeless pistol of the Swiss Army, is once again in production by SIG SAUER GmbH in Germany. This historic gun features the same precision and reliability as its ancestors, but also offers a number of modern improvements.
• The return of the SIG SAUER P210 Legend will now ensure that many more shooters will be able to enjoy one of the world’s most accurate and legendary firearms.

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• 21st Century Commander
• Internally, the 21st Century Commander is classic Colt. The stainless 4.25-inch barrel is rifled in the standard 1:16-inch left-hand twist. Each 21st Century Commander is serialized with a unique number that contains the letters “WC” for Wiley Clapp.

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• 21 Series Beretta
• The 21 Series Beretta pocket pistol (Bobcat) has the same dedication to advanced design, uncompromising quality and strict quality control that make the 92F, Cougar and Cheetah such international standouts.
• It has a user-friendly design, exclusive tip-up barrel allowing the user to easily load a round directly into the chamber or assisting in the safe clearing of the pistol by allowing a live round to be easily removed from the chamber and the bore quickly checked. Jamming and stovepiping problems are virtually eliminated by the open slide design shared by all small frame Berettas.
• Chambered for .22LR or .25ACP (6.35 mm), this compact, rugged small frame measures just 4.9 inches (125 mm) overall and weighs only 11.5 ounces (325 grams). It features a lightweight, alloy frame, blued steel slide, tip-up barrel, and double/single action. The Bobcat comes with a 7-round magazine for .22LR ammunition, or an 8 round magazine for .25 (6.35 mm)caliber cartridges.

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• Twenty-one Gun Salute
• Legend has it that Twenty-one guns are fired in U.S. national military salutes because the digits in 1776 add up to 21. However, despite the fact that the year 1776 is deeply significant to Americans and the total of its digits does add up to 21, the legend is untrue because the custom of the 21-gun salute antedates the American Revolution by at least several decades.
• Also interesting is the fact that, although we now view weaponry salutes as honors proudly bestowed by fighting men upon those of high rank or great achievement, saluting in days long ago was an act of submission; a tangible way of demonstrating that the one performing the action was voluntarily placing himself in the power of the one being saluted. Guns would be emptied a ritual number of times, or sails would be lowered, or spears would be pointed towards the ground, the significance being that those carrying out the act were saying “I yield to your authority, and as proof I’ve just rendered my weapon incapable of being used against you.”
• Over time the practice evolved into a custom honorary and ceremonial as well as practical. Today’s salute is far more a mark of respect than an act of submission.
• Cannons became part of weaponry salutes in the 14th century.  A just-emptied cannon was a useless piece of ordnance and so made a fine visible display of the lack of hostile intent. Warships took to firing honorary seven-gun salutes, with that number likely chosen for its astrological and biblical significance. Because those crewing cannons on land had access to far greater supplies of powder, they were able to fire three guns (a number chosen for its mystical significance) for every shot fired afloat, making the honorary salute by shore batteries 21 guns.
• Eventually, an understanding was reached that the international salute should be established as 21 guns.
• Today, the national salute of 21 guns is fired in honor of a national flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, ex-President, and President-elect of the United States. It is also fired at noon of the day of the funeral of a President, ex-President, or President-elect; Washington’s Birthday; Presidents’ Day; and the Fourth of July. On Memorial Day, a salute of 21 minute guns (i.e., guns discharged at one-minute intervals) is fired at noon while the flag is flown at half staff.

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In other stuff

• We are currently living in the 21st Century, which spans the years from 2001 to 2100;
• There are 21 letters in the Italian alphabet;
• 21 is the number representing the maturity and the responsibility for an individual;
• In most USA states 21 is the drinking age;
• In some countries 21 is the voting age;
• Cities on latitude 21 North include:  Aguascalientes, Cancún, and León, in Mexico; Jeddah, and Mecca in Saudi Arabia; Honolulu, Hawaii; Nagpur, Maharashtra, India; and Hanoi, Vietnam.
• Cities on latitude 21 South include: Francistown, Botswana; and Nuku’Alofa, Tonga.
• Cities on longitude 21 West include: Reykjavík, Iceland.
• Cities on longitude 21 East include: Warsaw, Poland; Pristina, Kosovo; and Skopje, Macedonia.21 is a card game, also called vingt-et-un (French for “twenty-one”), pontoon, or blackjack;
• Twenty One, was the name of a TV quiz show that ran from 1956 to 1958, most remembered for the scandal that the wins were fixed – it was remade in 2000;
• There are 21 spots on a standard cubical (six-sided) die (1+2+3+4+5+6);
• There are 21 trump cards of the tarot deck if one does not consider The Fool to be a proper trump card;
• In Israel, the number is associated with the profile 21 (the military profile designation granting an exemption from the military service);
• 21 grams is the weight of the soul, according to research by Duncan MacDougall;
• 21 is the designation of a US Highway connecting Wytheville, Virginia and Beaufort, South Carolina, a truncation of a route that once connected Cleveland, Ohio and Jacksonville, Florida, among other highways past and present;
• 21 is the number of the French department Côte-d’Or;
• In France XXI is a journal devoted to long-form journalism;
• ’21’ is a landmark New York restaurant perfectly positioned in midtown Manhattan;
• Forever 21 is an American chain of clothing retailers with branches in major cities in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East that offers trendy clothing and accessories for young women, men, and girls at low, affordable prices.

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So How Can You Tell Mayan Bollocks From Ordinary Bollocks?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The answer to the question in the title is, of course, you can’t. Bollocks is bollocks no matter from which race, religion, continent or country it comes from, or in what language.

I tried, and tried hard, but I couldn’t let Friday’s non-event go by without a word or several about the Mayans and particularly about the dipsticks who thought they had interpreted the Mayan calendar.

By the way “the Mayan Calendar” is an anagram of “deny earth almanac” so that in itself should have told them something.

But no, in the best bollocks-brain tradition that also brought us ‘the Y2K crisis that never was’ and that never made any sense either, we have been subjected for months and years now to all this end of the world malarkey from so-called learned scholars who knew such a lot about such a little they might as well have known nothing about anything at all. Plus, they have not an atom of common sense between them!

There’s a fasab rule that there are none so dumb as those who think they are smart. I suppose that’s my take on “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Happily I have been blessed with the ability to recognize that there are at least a trillion things that I don’t know for every little thing that I do know. I have also learned not to jump to conclusions when there is precious little evidence to support them.

So here’s the story.

We all know by now that the Mayans carved a calendar into a big round stone and that some self-important smart asses tried to decipher it and came to the conclusion that, because the calendar apparently stops at Dec 21, 2012, that is the date when the world must end.

That’s a bit like munching your way through a bar of chocolate, looking at the empty wrapper and deciding that there will be no more bars of chocolate ever! (Now THAT would be the end of the world!)

There could have been lots of reasons why the Mayan calendar ended on that date (if indeed it did) but they were either dismissed or, much more likely, never even considered. None of them fit with dipstick logic.

For example,

• the wee-calendar-carver-man-person may have keeled over and died without passing on his ‘magic formula’ to a successor.
• he may just have got pissed off with the job and stopped.
• he could have broken his chisel.
• he might have whacked himself on the thumb with his hammer.
• he could have continued his work on a second stone that nobody has found yet.
• or he may have been the Mayan equivalent of the modern day dipsticks who tried to interpret it and really did think the world was going to end on that date.

It’s not the fact that we have these ‘end of the world’ morons and their equally moronic pronouncements about the apocalypse that annoys me. It’s the utterly depressing fact that no matter how insanely stupid their ideas are there are always hoards of other morons willing to believe them.

How sad is that?

And it has been going on for thousands of years.

A Roman priest and theologian in the second and third centuries, predicted Christ would return in A.D. 500. His calculations were based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark!

In the year 999, despite the fact that there weren’t any of the events required by the Bible transpiring at that time, there was almost hysteria over the return of Christ with all members of society seemingly affected by the prediction that it would happen on January 1, 1000 AD.

In 1186 the “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world would be destroyed and only a few would be spared.

In 1420 the Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city would be annihilated by fire. Only five mountain strongholds would be saved.

Also around the same time someone called ‘Mother Shipton’ claimed the world would end 400 years later in 1881.

In 1666 the bubonic plague outbreak killed 100,000 Londoners and, along with the Great Fire of London during the same year, made the world ending likely to most. The fact that the year ended with the Beast’s number (666), didn’t help sanity to prevail either.

By 1809 things were getting really silly. A woman fortune teller, named Mary Bateman, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end time messages on them. However the uproar she created was ended abruptly when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing a magic egg up the hen’s ass! She was later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client.

William Miller founded an end-times movement that became known as ‘Millerism’. He determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward and the anticipation continued to build up until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one year time table ran out.

In 1874 the Jehovah’s Witnesses were getting in on the fun, but failed. They also struck out in 1878 and 1881. Charles Taze Russell then predicted the Rapture in 1910, followed by the ‘End of the World’ in 1914. He later reinterpreted this as the ‘invisible’ return of Christ when the world ignored him and continued. The Witnesses had no better luck with predictions for 1918, or 1925, or 1957, or 1975, or 1994. Amazingly, the failure of every one of their forecasts has not affected the growth of the movement, the Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, having apparently over 13 million subscribers worldwide.

Then the revisit of Haley’s comet was, for many, an indication of the Lord’s second coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One of the few sane people of the time was enterprising enough to sell ‘comet pills’ to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases.

1960 was the date chosen by Piazzi Smyth, a past astronomer royal of Scotland, whose 1860 book titled “Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid” both predicted that year as the date of the new millennium and  was responsible for spreading the belief in pyramidology throughout the world.

1962 saw Pope John XXIII contributing to the madness, predicting that visitors from outer space would arrive in chariots of flaming steel and would share their advanced knowledge with humanity. Our life span would be increased to 150 years or longer and most diseases would be wiped out.

In 1967 when the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews, prophecy watchers declared that the ‘Time of the Gentiles’ had come to an end.

By the mid 1970s it was the turn of the late Moses David (formerly David Berg) founder of ‘The Children of God’ to predict that a comet would hit the earth, and destroy all life in the United States.

Then a group called the ‘Tara Centers’ placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing “The Christ is Now Here!” and predicting that he would make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…” in other words, all our fault, not theirs!

In 1983, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Guru of the Rajneesh movement also predicted massive destruction on earth, including natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. Floods larger than any since Noah, extreme earthquakes, very destructive volcano eruptions, nuclear wars etc. would be experienced. Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Bombay would all disappear. To the best of my knowledge they are all still around although Bombay did have a makeover name change. .

In 1991 Nation of Islam Leader, Louis Farrakhan, proclaimed the Gulf War would to be “the War of Armageddon … the final War.” Wrong!

In 1992, we had the whacko in Waco. David Koresh and his Branch Davidian group change the name of their commune from Mt. Carmel to Ranch Apocalypse, because of his belief that the final all-encompassing battle of Armageddon mentioned in the Bible would start at the Branch Davidian compound. They had calculated that the end would occur in 1995. After a 51-day standoff, on April 10,1993, they did have their own mini apocalypse when 76 members died as a result of a deliberately set fire.

Also in 1992 Lee Jang Rim started a church called, “Mission For The Coming Days”. Using numerology as the basis for his chosen date, the cult (no spelling error) looked forward to the Second Coming believing that Jesus would return through Sydney Harbour! An hour after the appointed prediction time the cult leaders ran for it, hiding their faces from reporters. One reporter was punched. Some disappointed members committed suicide, probably because they had given all their worldly assets to Lee Jang Rim who was later jailed for two years for embezzling 4.4 million dollars from 10,000 of his cult followers. Ironically Lee Jang Rim had used the money to buy bonds that matured AFTER the end of the world! You gotta laugh!

Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church Los Angels also caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of an apocalyptic event on June 9th, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” Nope, didn’t happen either.

Then Harold Camping in his book “Are You Ready?” predicted the Lord’s return in September 1994. The book was full of methods that added up Bible numbers up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. Of course it was nonsense, but proving that you can’t keep a good man down, he was at it again in 2011, when he pronounced that May 21 that year would be ‘Judgment day’. Needless to say he was wrong again!

In 1993, when Rabin and Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, some saw the events as the beginning of the tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement Daniel’s 1260 day countdown was underway and by adding 1260 days to September, 1993 they came to February 24, 1997 as the fateful day.

The July 29, 1997 an issue of the ‘Weekly World News’ carried a statement by a spokesperson of the ‘International Association of Psychics’ which said that 92% of their 120,000 members had had the same “end time” vision. War, pestilence, and a worldwide plague were among the predicted events which would see the end of mankind by around the year 2001. So much for psychics!

Also around 1997 a group called the ‘Sacerdotal Knights of National Security’ reported that “A space alien captured at a UFO landing site in eastern Missouri cracked under interrogation by the CIA and admitted that an extraterrestrial army will attack Earth on November 27 with the express purpose of stripping our planet of every natural resource they can find a use for — and making slaves of every man, woman and child in the world!”

Then, because 666 times three equals 1998, that year saw another spasm of end of the world predictions. For example, a Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31, 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return, and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO. However, the group had to abandon their second coming prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader said God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world, but as one commentator concluded, perhaps God realized at the last minute that the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and he didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel.

Also in 1998 the famous psychic, Edgar Cayce, predicted that a secret, underground chamber would be discovered between the paws of the Great Sphinx and that inside there would be documents revealing the history of Atlantis. This revelation would trigger the Second Coming of Christ. This prediction is more interesting than most because two independent studies have revealed that there is in fact an underground structure just where Cayce said it would be!

The wonderfully and appropriately named ‘Church of the Subgenius’ predicted that on “X Day”, July 5, 1998, the end of the world would occur. At that time, “the Men from Planet X, or XISTS, will arrive on Earth, close a deal with “Bob,” rapture the card-carrying Ordained SubGenii up to the Escape Vessels of the Sex Goddesses, and destroy the remaining population of Earth, VERY VERY SLOWLY.” In case you are wondering, ‘Bob’ is J.R. Dobbs, leader and High Epopt of the Church of the SubGenius, Living Avatar of Slack, the Saint of Sales. You couldn’t make it up!

The new millennium year of 2000 produced an upsurge in end of the world predictions. When none of that came true some of them regrouped and hit on the ‘no year zero’ excuse, pushing their doomsday date out to 2001. Nope. Wrong again!

A few years later, Shelby Corbett, of Bradenton, Florida put up benches throughout the town advertising that the rapture will happen in 2007! She had little Biblical knowledge but conveniently had a book out pushing the same information.

Then Arnie Stanton noted on September 16, 1997 that that evening was the fourth Jewish festival since April 3, 1996 when a lunar eclipse had occurred. He quoted Luke 21:25-26 which mentions “signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars and on the earth distress of nations” and decided  that “these recent lunar eclipses are the last known astronomical signs that will precede a 7 year (360 day/year) countdown to Armageddon/Christ’s return to the Earth.” Arnie expected that Christ’s return would occur within a few months of September 29, 2004 when Asteroid Toutatis made a very close approach to the Earth. Afraid not Arnie.

On April 17, 2008 Ronald Weinland travelled to Jerusalem and announced that he and his wife were the two witnesses of Revelation. The title of his book, “If it doesn’t come to pass…starting in April, then I’m nothing but a false prophet…” said it all.

And then we had the Mayan calendar nonsense, which brings me back to where this post started. It turned out to be a bit longer than I had intended, but I wanted to give you a flavor of the idiots that are out there, all with equally idiotic followers. And this is just a few of many, many more examples.

So is there an answer?

Well yes there is. And it’s pretty simple. Just do three things, (a) don’t listen to self-important academics and scientists who clearly don’t know what they are talking about. (b) treat others the way you like to be treated yourself, and providing you are reasonably normal and not some kind of kinky masochist, then that yardstick should do fine; and (c) don’t worry about the end of the world, you can’t do anything about it anyway, I mean where are you going to go?

THE END (of the post, just the post!)

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Significant Number Factoid Friday – Seven

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They’ve been ‘beautiful’, they’ve been ‘big’ and they’ve been ‘unusual’. Today we have the number seven, another of what are known as ‘significant’ numbers, so-called because of their use and the beliefs surrounding them.

Enjoy.

7 Seven

The number seven is the most mystical of all numbers. It is considered by a great many people to be ‘lucky’.

It is a number that is mentioned many times in the Bible where it indicates perfection and has its roots in ancient Jewish history.

In the Old Testament for example,

• The Creation established the pattern of a seven day week.
• The seventh day was a day of rest.
• Land was to lie fallow every seventh year to allow it to recover its nutrients.
• Noah led the clean animals into the ark in sets of seven pairs for each species.
• Solomon took seven years to build the temple in Jerusalem.
• The Torah mentions that the Sabbatical, or holy year, occurred every seven years.
• The Israelites were told to march around the walls of Jericho seven times, and their enemies would be defeated.
• The symbolic Jewish candlestick has seven branches.

This view of the number seven continued in the New Testament.

• A disciple asked Jesus, “How many times should we forgive our brethren?” Jesus replied, “70 times 7”.
• Revelations 1:16 states, “He had in his right hand seven stars.”
• Also in Revelations, the number of seals is seven.

And beyond the Bible, we find the number seven in other religions and societies.

• The ancient Greeks considered the number seven to be lucky. They believed it to be the perfect number.
• In ancient Egypt there were seven paths to heaven.
• In ancient Babylon there were seven branches on their tree of life.
• The Arabs carried on this belief and built seven holy temples.
• The Goths made sure they worshiped the seven deities.
• The Japanese also had seven gods. (In 1995, to celebrate the Japanese Emperor’s seven year reign 17 runners ran 7,777 meters round the imperial palace at 7 minutes past seven on the 7th day of the 7th month.)
• The Chinese saw seven as the number governing female life.
• Even the Scottish Masons made sure the number seven had relevance in their rites, and their aprons were made with seven tassels on them.

In the US too there are examples of the occurrence of the number seven.

• The Founding Fathers declared independence from Britain during the seventh month.
• There are seven articles to the US constitution.
• And the city of Washington D.C. was built on the 77th longitude.

The number still occurs because of it being thought lucky such as the drink 7-Up and the Boeing airplanes which are always 7?7.

Then there are the Seven Wonders of the world.

The original seven wonders were:

• Great Pyramid of Giza
• Hanging Gardens of Babylon
• Statue of Zeus at Olympia
• Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
• Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
• Colossus of Rhodes
• Lighthouse of Alexandria

(The earliest lists had the Ishtar Gate as the seventh wonder of the world instead of the Lighthouse of Alexandria.)

In 2001 an initiative was started by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation to choose the New7Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments.

Twenty-one finalists were announced January 1, 2006. Egyptians were not happy that the only surviving original wonder, the Great Pyramid of Giza, would have to compete with the likes of the Statue of Liberty, the Sydney Opera House, and other landmarks, calling the project absurd. In response, Giza was named an honorary Candidate.

The results, announced on July 7, 2007, in Lisbon, Portugal, were:

• Great Wall of China
• Petra (Jordan)
• Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)
• Machu Picchu (Peru)
• Chichen Itza (Mexico)
• Colosseum (Italy)
• Taj Mahal (India)

There have also been several atempts to compile a list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The main candidates include:

• Grand Canyon
• Great Barrier Reef
• Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
• Mount Everest
• Aurora
• Parícutin volcano
• Victoria Falls

And, of course, in the field of entertainment the number seven has featured in several memorable movies, examples of which include:

• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
• Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
• Se7en
• The Magnificent Seven
• The Seven Samurai
• The Seventh Seal
• Seven Pounds