# Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Fifty-Two 52

“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 another ‘significant’ number, fifty-two, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.

Enjoy.

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## 52 Fifty-Two

Fifty-two first came to mind because it is the number of weeks in a year. Simple enough. But, as usual, with these significant numbers there is more to fifty-two than you might at first imagine.

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In Religion

• The 52nd word of the King James Version of the Bible’s Old Testament Genesis is ‘God’
• Saint Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, is believed to have landed in Kodungallur, India to preach the Gospel.
• Nag Hammadi is a set of 52 religious & philosophical texts, hidden in an earthenware jar for 1,600 years, and accidentally unearthed in the village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt in December 1945. Written in Coptic, this corpus of 1200 pages include the Gospel of Thomas recording the secret sayings of Christ.
• The ancient Mexicans divided the time in periods of 52 years, waiting the end of the world to the term of each of they. It is the number of the Aztec century, 13 x 4, called the small cycle. We find it in the ligature of the years for the duration of the suns, in particular the first and the fourth sun, which have a duration of 676 years, are considered as being the most perfect since they contain only the two numbers 13 and 52 whose product gives 676.
• The Mayan Calendar moves through a complete cycle every 52 years. (until near the end of December this year GULP!)

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In Mathematics

• Fifty-two is the 6th Bell number and a decagonal number.
• It is an untouchable number, since it is never the sum of proper divisors of any number, and it is a noncototient since it is never the answer to the equation x – f(x).
• The number of different ways a complete pack of playing cards may be rearranged is 52! or 52 factorial which is 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x…
• This number is very large; For example it would take light approximately 14 billion billion billion billion billion billion years to travel 52! miles.

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In Science

• The Atomic Number of Tellurium (semi-metallic with silvery lustrous grey color) is 52
• Atomic Weight of Chromium (Cr) is 52

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In Space

• Messier object M52, a magnitude 8.0 open cluster in the constellation Cassiopeia

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In Sport

• For over twenty years, 52 was the best-known car number of retired NASCAR driver Jimmy Means.

• Ray Lewis, is possibly the most famous sportsman to currently wear the number 52 jersey. He plays for the Baltimore Ravens, is a dominant linebacker and force on the premier defense in the NFL. He also has a really unique (and entertaining,) dance he does when entering the stadium field.

• But perhaps the most interesting story is that of Michael Lewis “Iron Mike” Webster who was an American football player who played center in the National Football League from 1974 to 1990 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Iron Mike” anchored the Steelers’ offensive line during much of their run of four Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1979 and is considered by some as the best center in NFL history.
• His career ended after the 1990 season, with a total of 245 games played at center. At the time of his retirement, he was the last active player in the NFL to have played on all four Super Bowl winning teams of the 1970s Steelers. He played more seasons as a Steeler than anyone in franchise history (15 seasons), one season ahead of Hines Ward.
• While the Steelers no longer officially retire jerseys, Webster’s #52 has not been reissued by the team since he retired and it is generally understood that no Steeler will wear that number again.
• Webster was proven to have been disabled before retiring from the NFL. After retirement, he  suffered from amnesia, dementia, depression, and acute bone and muscle pain. He lived out of his pickup truck or in train stations between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, even though his friends and former teammates were willing to rent apartments for him. In his last years Webster lived with his youngest son, Garrett, who though only a teenager at the time, had to act as the parent to his father. Webster’s wife divorced him six months before his death in 2002. He was only 50 years old.
• Webster is quoted as an example of the difficulties American football players suffer when their careers are over. Other players who retired because of the effects of concussion or other head injuries include Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Merril Hoge, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Dave Pear, Wayne Chrebet, and Al Toon.
• After his death, Mike Webster was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist, examined tissue from Webster and eight other NFL players and determined they all showed the kind of brain damage previously seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, as well as in some retired boxers. Omalu’s findings were largely ignored by the NFL until Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was diagnosed with CTE shortly after his death in 2009.
• It has been speculated that Webster’s ailments were due to wear and tear sustained over his playing career; some doctors estimated he had been in the equivalent of “25,000 automobile crashes” in over 25 years of playing football at high school, college and professional levels.
• Webster’s estate brought a lawsuit in Maryland’s U.S. District Court against the National Football League. The estate contended that Webster was disabled at the time of his retirement, and was owed \$1.142 million in disability payments under the NFL’s retirement plan. On April 26, 2005, a federal judge ruled that the NFL benefits plan owed Webster’s estate \$1.18 million in benefits. With the addition of interest and fees, that amount was estimated to exceed \$1.60 million. The NFL appealed the ruling, but on December 13, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia affirmed the Baltimore federal judge’s 2005 ruling that the league’s retirement plan must pay benefits reserved for players whose disabilities began while they were still playing football.

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In Militaria

The B-52

• By far the best know aircraft with the 52 designation is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. It is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber, built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, and was a replacement for the Convair B-36.
• It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1955. The bomber carries up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons.
• Beginning with their successful contract bid in June 1946, the Boeing B-52 design evolved from a straight-wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings.
• The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Although a veteran of several wars, the Stratofortress has dropped only conventional munitions in combat. Its Stratofortress name is rarely used outside of official contexts; it has been referred to by Air Force personnel as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat/Flying Fucker/Fellow).
• Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later aircraft, including the cancelled Mach 3 North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry Rockwell B-1B Lancer, and the stealthy Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.
• The B-52 marked its 50th anniversary of continuous service with its original operator in 2005 and after being upgraded between 2013 and 2015 it will serve into the 2040s.

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The Junkers Ju 52

• The Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju (“Auntie Ju”) and Iron Annie) was a German trimotor transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945.
• It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s.
• In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler.
• In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber.
• The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s.

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Ka-52

• Another notable air machine with the 52 designation is the multi-role all-weather combat Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter.  First revealed at 1995 Paris Air Show, this is a twin-seat derivative of the attack Ka-50. It is intended for a wide range of combat tasks in daytime and night conditions, in any time of the year with the use of all destruction means of the Ka-50.
• The Ka-52 has a coaxial design with unique manoeuvrability that allows the helicopter to perform combat maneuvers within the minimum air area and the shortest time to gain an advantageous attack position.
• From the point of view of the weapons power the “Alligator” is comparable with the “Black Shark” helicopter and is superior to all existing combat helicopters.

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USS Barry (DDG 52)

• The fourth ‘Barry’, the DDG 52, was launched on 10 May 1991 by Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc. and was commissioned into the U.S. Atlantic Fleet on 12 December 1992.
• The USS Barry DDG 52 has taken part in Operation Support Democracy in Haiti in November 1993; the backdrop for the 50th anniversary of D-Day in the Mediterranean in 1994; the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas served as “Red Crown” in support of the No-Fly Zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Persian Gulf in 1994 in response to Iraq’s massing of troops on the Kuwaiti border; Operation Vigilant Warriors escort of both the George Washington and an amphibious assault group to anchorage off Kuwait City and as alternate Persian Gulf Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator (AAWC), and principal Tomahawk strike platform during the crisis.
• The USS Barry received a Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, and the NATO Medal for her actions
• In October of 2004, Barry was again in the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as part of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group and also participated in Somalia Operations in the Horn of Africa (HOA).

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CZ 52

• The CZ 52 (also known by the Czechoslovakian military designations vz. 52, for “model of 1952”, and CZ 482) is a semi-automatic pistol designed by two brothers, Jan and Jaroslav Kratochvíl, in the early 1950s for the Czechoslovakian military.
• Around 200,000 vz. 52s were made by Ceská Zbrojovka in Strakonice from 1952 to 1954.
• The vz. 52 replaced the 7.65 mm Browning caliber (.32 ACP) Vz.50, which had acquired a reputation for unreliability and was underpowered for its role as a military service sidearm.
• After 30 years of military service, the vz. 52 was eventually replaced by the 9x18mm Makarov caliber vz. 82. Cz-USA began exporting to the US market in January 1998 with the designation CZ 52.

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AA-52

• The AA-52 (full designation in French: Arme Automatique Transformable Modèle 1952, “Transformable automatic weapon model 1952”), also known as “La Nana” is one of the first French-produced guns of the post-World War II era.
• It was manufactured by the French government-owned MAS company.
• The AA-52 is still used today as a vehicle-mounted weapon due to large quantities in service, but has been replaced in the helicopter role by the Belgian FN MAG, starting with the EC 725 Caracal of the Special Operations units and the Air Force Search and Rescue teams.
• The AA-52 had been largely phased out for infantry use in favour of the lighter FN Minimi. The AA-52 is still in use in Afghanistan.

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British Army

• Part of the British Army forces is 52 Infantry Brigade which has a proud and long history as a fighting brigade.
• Its reputation during both the World Wars earned it the nickname of ‘The Fighting 52nd’ and its recent deployment to Afghanistan enabled the Brigade to re-establish its fighting credentials as one of the British Army’s fully deployable Type A Brigades.

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US Army

• The 52nd Infantry Regiment
• The 52nd Infantry Regiment (“Ready Rifles”) is an infantry unit of the United States Army.
• The coat of arms was originally approved for the 52d Infantry Regiment on June 29, 1921. It was redesignated for the 52d Armored Infantry Regiment on September 29, 1942. The insignia was redesignated for the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion on January 6, 1944.
• It was redesignated for the 52d Infantry Regiment on October 31, 1958.

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• 1st Battalion, 52d Aviation Regiment
• The 1st Battalion, 52d Aviation Regiment is known as the “Flying Dragons.”
• The battalion provides aviation support to USARAK (United States Army Alaska) with UH-60A Blackhawks and CH-47 Chinooks. On order, deploy and conduct full spectrum aviation operations in support of Combatant Commanders.

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Other Stuff

• A standard piano has 52 white keys

• Fifty-two is the approximate number of weeks in a year. 52 weeks is 364 days, while the tropical year is 365.24 days long. According to ISO 8601, most years have 52 weeks while some have 53.

• There are 52 cards in a standard deck of playing cards, not counting Jokers or advertisement cards

• There is a 52 Plus Joker Club that was formed to facilitate, the collection and trading of antique and collectible playing cards and related items; the advancement of knowledge about the history, manufacture and artistic aspect of playing cards; and the promotion of fellowship among members with similar interests.

• DC Comics has a weekly comic series entitled 52 that has 52 issues, with a plot spanning one full year.

• In finance one of the vital statistics always quoted in stocks/shares summaries is the 52 week High/Low trading price

• Patolli is an Aztec board game utilizing 52 squares arranged in a cross form. Its name came from the Aztec word for bean— patolli, meaning fava or kidney bean. The game is played on a curious diagonal cross-shaped board with red and blue markers and five beans (or occasionally four beans) as dice. The game’s goal is to return the pieces back to the original starting position. Patolli was most likely also used in a religious and ritualistic sense for divination— the throw of the beans was thought to be able to tell the future.
• Cities located at 52o latitude: Berlin, Germany; Hannover, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Warsaw, Poland; and Birmingham, UK.
• And finally, the  Morden Blush Rose, bred in Canada, has 52 petals.

# Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Forty-Two 42

“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 another  ‘significant’ number, forty-two, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.

Enjoy.

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## 42 Forty-Two

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In Religion

• In Japanese culture, the number 42 is considered unlucky because the numerals when pronounced separately — “shi ni” (four two) — sound like the phrase, “unto death”;
• There are 42 principles of Ma’at, the Ancient Egyptian personification of physical and moral law, order, and truth. In the judgement scene described in the Egyptian and the Book of the Coming/Going Forth by Day, there are 42 gods and goddesses of Egypt, personifying the principles of Ma’at. These 42 correspond to the 42 Nomes (Governmental Units) of Egypt. If the departed successfully answers all 42, s/he becomes an Osiris;
• 42 is the number with which God creates the Universe in Kabbalistic tradition;
• In Judaism, the number (in the Babylonian Talmud, compiled 375 AD to 499 AD) of the “Forty-Two Lettered Name” ascribed to God. Rab (or Rabhs), a 3rd century source in the Talmud stated “The Forty-Two Lettered Name is entrusted only to him who is pious, meek, middle-aged, free from bad temper, sober, and not insistent on his rights”.
• 42 is a sacred Tibetan number and there is also a 42 armed Hindu God;
• The first book to be printed with movable type, the Gutenberg Bible, is also known as the “42-line Bible”, as the book contained 42 lines per page;
• The Forty-Two Articles (1552), largely the work of Thomas Cranmer, were intended to summarise Anglican doctrine, as it now existed under the reign of Edward VI..

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In The Bible

• Forty Two, 3½ and 1260 – this is the amount that is given to the wicked or for people to bear fruit. Judgment occurs at the end. It is based on the law that God only expects results after the third year of planting (Leviticus 19: 23-25);
• This time period appears in many prophecies as 1260 days, 42 months or 3½ years. It is the period that God allows the beast to operate. Notice that this is equal to 6 x 7 months. It is man’s portion of the jubilee cycle;
• Two female bears kill forty two children after they ridiculed the prophet of God. 2 Kings 2: 24;
• 42 Cities are given to the Levites in addition to six cities of refuge (Numbers 35: 6);
• 42 men of Beth-azmaveth were counted in the census of men of Israel upon return from exile (Ezra 2:24);
• Israel camped 42 times in the wilderness during the 40 year exodus.
• The goat’s hair and linen curtains covering the sanctuary have a length of 42 and 40 cubits.
• Jesus was forty two generations from Abraham. (Matthew 1).

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In Mathematics

• 42 is the product of the first three terms of Sylvester’s sequence; like the first five such numbers it is also a primary pseudoperfect number;
• 42 is a partition number – the number of different ways 10 can be represented as the sum of natural numbers;
• 42 is a Størmer number;
• 42 is a perfect score on the USA Math Olympiad (USAMO) and International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO).

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In Science

• 42 is the atomic number of molybdenum;
• 42 is the value of the angle rounded to whole degrees for which a rainbow appears (the critical angle);
• In 1966, mathematician Paul Cooper theorized that the fastest, most efficient way to travel across continents would be to bore a straight hollow tube directly through the Earth, connecting a set of antipodes, evacuate it (remove the air), and then just fall through. The first half of the journey consists of free-fall acceleration, while the second half consists of an exactly equal deceleration. The time for such a journey works out to be 42 minutes. Remarkably, even if the tube does not pass through the exact center of the Earth, the time for a journey powered entirely by gravity (also known as Gravity train) always works out to be 42 minutes, as long as the tube remains friction-free, as while gravity’s force would be lessened, so would the distance traveled at an equal rate. (The same idea was proposed, without calculation by Lewis Carroll in 1893 in Sylvie and Bruno Concluded.)

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In Technology

• The glyph, or character, corresponding to the number 42 in the ASCII character set, is *, the asterisk, commonly known as the wildcard character;
• In the TIFF image file format, the second 16-bit word of every file is 42, which is used together with the first word to indicate byte order;
• In the reiser4 file system, 42 is the inode number of the root directory;
• In the military IRIG 106 Chapter 10 data recording standard, the hex value 0x464F52545974776F (ASCII “FORTYtwo”) is used as a magic number to identify directory blocks;
• The GNU C Library, a set of standard routines available for use in computer programming, contains a function—memfrob()—which performs an XOR combination of a given variable and the binary pattern 00101010 (42) as an XOR cipher;
• 42 is the result given by the web search engines Google and Wolfram Alpha when the query “the answer to life the universe and everything” is entered as a search.

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In Space

• Messier object M42, a magnitude 5.0 diffuse nebula in the constellation Orion, also known as the Orion Nebula;
• The New General Catalogue object NGC 42, is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pegasus;
• In January 2004, asteroid 2001 DA42 was given the permanent name 25924 Douglasadams, for the author Douglas Adams who popularized the number 42 and died in 2001;
• Kepler-42, is a red dwarf in the constellation Cygnus around which orbits the three smallest exoplanets found to date.

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In Politics

• The 42nd President of the Unites States of America was Democratic Party William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton, from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001. Vice President was Al Gore. Remembered more for ‘blow-jobs’ in the White House, Clinton’s Presidency also oversaw the disastrous Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, that repealed the parts of the Glass–Steagall Act which had not already been repealed. This 1999 Act took down barriers to competition between traditional banks, investment banks, and insurance companies, in some cases allowing firms to participate in all three markets thus making distinctions between these categories less clear. It has been held largely responsible for the current financial crisis.

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In Sport

• 42 is the jersey number of Jackie Robinson, which is the only number retired by all Major League Baseball teams. Although the number was retired in 1997, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, the last professional baseball player to wear number 42, is currently still using it;
• 42 is the jersey number of basketball Hall of Famer and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History James Worthy, small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, who retired his jersey number in 1995;
• 42 is the jersey number of football Hall of Famer, Ronnie Lott, safety for the San Francisco 49ers, who retired his jersey number in 2003;
• 42 is the jersey number of Chicago Bears legend Sid Luckman, which was retired by the Bears;
• 42 is the jersey number of Pat Tillman, which was retired on November 13, 2004 by Arizona State University;
• 42 is the number of laws of cricket;
• 42 is the number of kilometers in a marathon;
• 42 is the number of a NASCAR car owned by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. It is currently being driven by former F1 star and Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya;

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In Militaria

• XB-42
• The most notable aircraft with the 42 designation was the XB-42 ‘Mixmaster’. This aircraft was developed initially as a private venture and an unsolicited proposal was presented to the United States Army Air Forces in May 1943 which resulted in an Air Force contract for two prototypes and one static test airframe, the USAAF seeing an intriguing possibility of finding a bomber capable of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress’ range without its size or cost.
• The aircraft was unusual in design in that it had a pair of Allison V-1710-125 liquid-cooled V-12 engines mounted behind the crew’s cabin, each driving one of the twin propellers which protruded from the rear of the aircraft’s fuselage. The pilot and co-pilot sat under twin bubble canopies, and the bombardier sat in the extreme front behind a plexiglass nose.
• The first XB-42 was delivered to the Army Air Force and flew at Palm Springs, California on 6 May 1944. Performance was excellent, being basically as described in the original proposal; as fast or faster than the de Havilland Mosquito but with defensive armament and twice the bombload. The twin bubble canopies proved a bad idea as communications were adversely affected and a single bubble canopy was substituted after the first flight, a problem that could have been rectified, but the end of World War II changed priorities and the advent of the jet engine gave an alternative way toward achieving high speed.

• AG-42
• The AG-42 rifle (official designation Halvautomatiskt Gevaer 42) was developed by Swedish engineer Erik Eklund while working at company C. J. Ljungman AB. Officially adopted by Swedish army in 1942, this rifle served in Sweden until mid-1960s, when it was replaced in service with 7.62mm AK-4 rifle (license-build HK G3 rifle).

• MKb.42
• In 1939 HWaA (Hitler’s army Weapons command) issued a contract for the development of a “Maschinen karabiner”, or machine carbine (MKb for short), chambered for the new 7.92×33 Kurz cartridge, to the company C.G. Haenel Waffen und Fahrradfabrik.
• The famous designer Hugo Schmeisser led the Haenel development team, which produced the first working prototypes of new weapon by 1942. The new weapon was intended as a replacement for submachine guns, bolt action rifles and, partly, light machine guns for front troops. The MKb.42(H) could be fitted with standardbayonet, and has a wooden butt.

• MG 42
• A cheaper to produce but much more reliable replacement for the MG 34, the MG 42 was officially adopted as the MG 42, and production commenced in 1941.
• In general terms, the MG 42 was a great success. It fulfilled the roles of a light machine gun on a bipod, a medium machine gun (on a newly developed Lafette 42 tripod), and an anti-aircraft machine gun, mounted in single and twin installations, ground and vehicle-mounted.
• After the WW2 the MG 42, unlike other wartime designs, lived on, as in 1958, the FRG (WestGermany) re-instituted its official armed force, known as the Bundeswehr.
• The simplicity, low manufacturing cost and high effectiveness of the MG 3 attracted several other countries, which either bought the guns from Rheinmetall (such as Denmark), or obtained manufacturing licenses and build (or at least have built in the past) the same guns domestically (such as Italy, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Yugoslavia). In total, at least twenty armies have used or still are using the MG 3 and its versions.

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In Books, Movies & TV

• The 42nd Parallel is the first of a trilogy of books, (the others being 1919, and The Big Money), written by John Dos Passos and acclaimed by many to be the great American novel;
• English author Douglas Noel Adams popularized the number 42 in his best known work called the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The number 42 and the phrase, “Life, the universe, and everything” have attained cult status on the Internet. If you type the answer to life, the universe and everything into Google (without quotes or capitalising the small words), the Google Calculator will give you 42; also, if you go to Wolfram’s Computational Knowledge Engine and type “answer to life, the universe, and everything”, it provides you with the result 42. Microsoft’s Bing search engine will also give you 42. Alphasmart 3000’s calculator, when given any equation that results in 42, will display, “The answer to life, the universe, and everything”. In the online community “Second Life,” there is a section on a sim called “42nd Life”;
• In the Stargate Atlantis Season 4 episode “Quarantine”, 42 are the last two digits in Rodney McKay’s password. After John Sheppard explains to Teyla the meaning of the previous twelve digits, she asks him what 42 is. Then, John says, “It’s the ultimate answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything,” at which point Teyla looks confused;
• In the TV show Lost, 42 is the last of the mysterious numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42;
• In Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Alex browses through records in a record store and we see a record of the, at this time fictional, band Level 42;
• “42” is an episode of Doctor Who, set in real time lasting approximately 42 minutes;
• “The Kumars at No. 42” is the name of a 2003 BBC television series;
• A made for TV movie 42: Forty Two Up – an installment in a series of documentaries wherein the director revisits the same group of British-born individuals every 7 years;
• On the game show Jeopardy!, “Watson” the IBM supercomputer, has 42 “threads” in its avatar;
• On the Unusuals TV-show there’s an episode called “42”. Detective Leo Banks recently turned 42. On account of his father, uncle, and grandfather dropping dead at 42, Leo is convinced he’ll share their fate. There were 42s all over the episode.

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Other Stuff

• In New York City, 42nd Street is a main and very popular two-way thoroughfare. Landmarks on it include the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, the main branch of the New York Public Library, and Times Square;
• Tower 42, originally called the NatWest Tower because it was built for the National Westminster Bank, is the tallest skyscraper in the city of London and the fifth tallest in London as a whole;
• +42 is the historic Country calling code for the former country of Czechoslovakia;
• 42 is the number of US gallons in a barrel of oil;
• 42 is the number of spots (or pips, circular patches or pits) on a pair of standard six-sided dice;
• 42 is a free tabloid devoted to technology news in Huntsville, Alabama. It is published by the Huntsville Times and is named for “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”;
• Fictional comic book superhero Miles Morales is bitten by a genetically altered spider with a red 42 marked on its abdomen. Morales later assumes the role of Spider-Man as a result of the bite and following the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate Marvel universe from Marvel Comics. Morales also wins a coveted spot in a prestigious charter school after his number (42) is chosen during a lottery.

# Significant Number Factoid Friday – 15 Fifteen

“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 another ‘significant’ number, fifteen, so-called because of their use and the beliefs surrounding it.

Enjoy.

15 Fifteen

The number fifteen is perhaps best known today because of Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame statement.

• in mathematics fifteen is what is known as a triangular number, a hexagonal number, a pentatope number and the 4th Bell number;
• fifteen is the atomic number of phosphorus;
• 15 Madadgar is designated as an emergency number in Pakistan, for mobile phones, similar to the international GSM emergency number 112, if 112 is used in Pakistan, then the call is routed to 15;
• Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan;
• in Spanish culture 15 is the age when a Hispanic girl celebrates her quinceañera;
• it is the number of days in each of the 24 cycles of the Chinese calendar;
• it is the number of guns in a gun salute to Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force Lieutenant Generals, and Navy and Coast Guard Vice Admirals;
• it is the number of checkers each side has at the start of a backgammon game;
• and it is the number corresponding to The Devil in tarot cards.

In sport,

• there are 15 players on the field in each rugby union team at any given time;
• in tennis, the number 15 represents the first point gained in a game;
• the jersey number 15 is worn by the starting fullback;
• the jersey number 15 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures: in Major League Baseball the New York Yankees, for Thurman Munson: in the NBA the Boston Celtics, for Hall of Famer Tom Heinsohn; the Dallas Mavericks, for Brad Davis; the Detroit Pistons, for Vinnie Johnson; the New York Knicks have retired the number twice, first for Dick McGuire, and then for Earl Monroe; the Philadelphia 76ers, for Hall of Famer Hal Greer; the Portland Trail Blazers, for Larry Steele: in the NHL: the Boston Bruins, for Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt: and in the NFL: the Green Bay Packers, for Hall of Famer Bart Starr; and the Philadelphia Eagles, for Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren.

In politics

• The 15th President of the United States was Democratic Party candidate James Buchanan (1791–1868) who was in office from March 4, 1857 to March 4, 1861. His VP was John C. Breckinridge.
• He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor, and the last president born in the 18th century.

• The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.

• Special Field Orders, No. 15 were military orders issued during the American Civil War, on January 16, 1865, by General William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi of the United States Army. They provided for the confiscation of 400,000 acres of land along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and the dividing of it into 40-acre parcels, on which were to be settled approximately 18,000 freed slave families and other Blacks then living in the area. Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton, an abolitionist from Massachusetts who had previously organized the recruitment of black soldiers for the Union Army, was put in charge of implementing the orders. The orders had little concrete effect, as they were revoked in the fall of that same year by President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Abraham Lincoln after his assassination.

Space Exploration

Apollo 15 was launched on July 26th, 1971, and landed on July 30th, 1971, at Hadley Rille. Splash Down was on August 7th, 1971. The crew was David R. Scott, James B. Irwin and Alfred M. Worden. At the time, NASA called it the most successful manned flight ever achieved.

Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon, and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of the longer “J Mission” expeditions to the moon, where the terrain was explored in some detail, and there was a much greater emphasis on science than had previously been possible.

The flight of Apollo 15 featured the first use of the Lunar Rover, which permitted Scott and Irwin to leave the Lunar Module “Falcon” behind and drive around over more than 27 kilometers of lunar ground.

The astronauts found and brought back the “Genesis Rock,”, a chunk of ancient lunar crust that has been extensively studied for clues about the origins of the moon and the Earth.

During the return flight aboard the Command Module “Endeavour,” Alfred Worden became the first man to perform a space walk outside of earth’s orbit as he went outside to retrieve some film from the side of the space craft.

Although the mission accomplished its objectives, this success was somewhat overshadowed by negative publicity that accompanied public awareness of postage stamps carried without authorization by the astronauts, who had made plans to sell them upon their return.

Militaria

F-15 Eagle

• The best known aircraft with this designation is the F-15 Eagle. It made its first flight in July 1972, and the first flight of the two-seat F-15B (formerly TF-15A) trainer was made in July 1973. The first Eagle (F-15B) was delivered in November 1974. In January 1976, the first Eagle destined for a combat squadron was delivered. The single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models entered the Air Force inventory beginning in 1979.

X-15

• The X-15 is perhaps the most ambitious aircraft ever created. It was built to push the limits of flight and explore the possibilities of space travel. During its research program the aircraft set unofficial world speed and altitude records of 4,520 mph (Mach 6.7 on Oct. 3, 1967, with Air Force pilot Pete Knight at the controls) and 354,200 ft (on Aug. 22, 1963, with NASA pilot Joseph Walker in the cockpit).
• In the course of its flight research, the X-15’s pilots and instrumentation yielded data for more than 765 research reports.
• The X-15 had no landing gear, but rather skidded to a stop in a 200 mph landing on skis. It had reaction controls for attitude control in space, and was a major step on the path toward space exploration. Much of what was learned on the X-15 was applied to the Space Shuttle.

The AR-15

• With the exception of the Kalashnikov, the Armalite AR-15 is perhaps the best know assault rifle in the world. It is a lightweight, 5.56 mm, magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifle, with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It is manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.
• The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a selective fire assault rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. The select-fire AR-15 entered the US military system as the M16 rifle. Colt then marketed the Colt AR-15 as a semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle for civilian sales in 1963. The name “AR-15” is a Colt registered trademark, which refers only to the semi-automatic rifle.
• Unfortunately its characteristics also made it a favorite weapon of terrorist organizations.

15 Gun Salute

• A 15 gun salute is accorded to a 3-star General

The Plus 15 Skyway

The Plus 15 or +15 Skyway network in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is the world’s second most extensive pedestrian skywalk system, with a total length of 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) and 59 bridges. The system is so named because the skywalks are approximately 15 feet (approximately 4.5 metres) above street level. (Some Plus 15 skywalks are multi-level, with higher levels being referred to as +30s and +45s.)

The system was conceived and designed by architect Harold Hanen, who worked for the Calgary Planning Department from 1966 to 1969. It provides a pleasant alternative to the cold streets in the winters which can be harsh.

The 15 Puzzle

One of the most famous puzzles, the 15-puzzle (also called Gem Puzzle, Boss Puzzle, Game of Fifteen, Mystic Square and many others) is a sliding puzzle that consists of a frame of numbered square tiles in random order with one tile missing. The puzzle also exists in other sizes, particularly the smaller 8-puzzle. If the size is 3×3 tiles, the puzzle is called the 8-puzzle or 9-puzzle, and if 4×4 tiles, the puzzle is called the 15-puzzle or 16-puzzle named, respectively, for the number of tiles and the number of spaces. The object of the puzzle is to place the tiles in order (see diagram) by making sliding moves that use the empty space.

And finally, The Church Choir

But one of the most unusual occurrences of the number concerns fifteen members of a church choir in Beatrice, Nebraska, due at practice at 7:20, were late on the evening of March 1, 1950.

• the minister, his wife and daughter were delayed while his wife ironed the daughter’s dress;
• another girl waited to finish a geometry problem for homework;
• one couldn’t start her car;
• two waited to hear the end of an exciting radio program;
• one mother and daughter were late because the mother had to call the daughter twice to wake her from a nap;

and so on.

All the reasons seemed ordinary. In total there were ten separate and quite unconnected reasons for the lateness of the fifteen persons.

It was rather fortunate that none of the fifteen arrived on time at 7:20, for at 7:25 the church building was destroyed in an explosion.

Life Magazine reported that the members of the choir wondered if their delay was “an act of God.”

The Mathematician Warren Weaver, in his book, ‘Lady Luck: The Theory of Probability’, calculates the staggering odds against chance for this event as about one in a million.

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# Significant Number Factoid Friday – Thirteen, Unlucky For Some

“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 ‘significant’ number thirteen, unlucky for some.

Enjoy.

13 Thirteen

The number 13 seems to give a lot of people trouble. Indeed the fear of the number 13 is so pervasive that it even has a phobia named after it  –  triskaidekaphobia.

In the Bible.

• At the Last Supper in Christian theology, there were 13 dinner guests, so that number is unlucky because Christ was betrayed.
• Thirteen famines are recorded in the Scriptures.
• The destruction of Jericho is stamped with the number thirteen, because the city was compassed once each day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day, making 13 times in all (6+7).
• All the names of Satan are divisible by thirteen.
• In Mark 7 Jesus mentions thirteen things that defile a person (evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness).

Elsewhere,

• The ancient Hebrews thought 13 was unlucky because the thirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the letter M, which is the first letter in the word “mavet,” meaning death.
• In Norse mythology, 12 benevolent gods were gathering in a hall and the evil god Loki attacked the group. Loki was the 13th guest, and the god Balder was killed in the melee.
• President Franklin D. Roosevelt was quite fearful of the number 13, and he took great pains to avoid hosting a meal for a group of that size. It is said that if he had a cancellation and it looked as if there might be 13 people to lunch, he would invite his secretary to join them so there wouldn’t be 13.
• Industrialist Henry Ford wouldn’t do business on Friday, the 13th.
• Multimillionaire Paul Getty once stated “I wouldn’t care to be one of thirteen at a table.”
• Some speculate that a fear of the number 13 is the reason we recognize only 12 constellations in the Zodiac, omitting a thirteenth… Ophiuchus ( the Serpent Holder) that, by its location, could be included.
• Years ago, London bakers were subject to harsh penalties if they were caught selling bread in what was called short weight. The bakers would add an extra loaf to each dozen to be sure the sale met the minimum weight requirement. They avoided the word thirteen and the process of adding an extra loaf became known as the “baker’s dozen.”
• Some airlines do not have a 13th row.
• Most tall buildings do not have a 13th floor.
• Many hotel guests refuse to stay in Room 13, so rooms are frequently numbered 12, 12A, and 14.
• The 13th card of the Tarot is the card of Death.
• The composer, Arnold Schoenberg, was a noted triskaidekaphobe. He died as he had predicted at the age of 76 (7+6=13), on a Friday 13th at 13 minutes to midnight.
• In April 1970, NASA launched Apollo 13 at 1313 hours Central Time from pad 39. The flight was commanded by James A. Lovell with John L. “Jack” Swigert as Command Module pilot and Fred W. Haise as Lunar Module pilot. (Swigert was a late replacement for the original CM pilot Ken Mattingly, who was grounded by the flight surgeon after exposure to German measles.) They were scheduled for rest periods beginning 13 minutes past the hour and on April 13 at 21:07:53 CST (55:54:53 Ground Elapsed Time) an oxygen tank exploded and the mission had to be aborted. The rest is history – and a movie, Apollo 13, based on ‘Lost Moon’, Jim Lovell’s and Jeffrey Kluger’s book about the event.

Friday the 13th Myths:

• If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.
• A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.
• If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.

In the United States

• the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution officially outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
• thirteen colonies rebelled against British Rule and King George III in what led to the American Revolutionary War and the eventual birth of the United States of America. The colonies were Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
• there are thirteen stripes on the USA flag to commemorate these original colonies.

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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

# Factoid Friday – Significant Numbers: Is Three A Crowd?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In the past on this blog they’ve been ‘beautiful’, they’ve been ‘big’ and they’ve been ‘unusual’. Today we have the first of a selection of ‘significant’ numbers, so-called because of their use and the beliefs surrounding them.

Enjoy.

3 Three

The number 3 is perhaps the most significant of all numbers. I’m sure at some time in our lives we have all heard that “things happen in 3’s.” There are lots of sayings and superstitions connected with the number 3. For example,

• luck, especially bad luck, is often said to “come in threes”;
• there is an American superstition which says that celebrity deaths tend to occur in threes;
• in Vietnam, there is a superstition that considers it bad luck to take a photo with three people in it; it is professed that the person in the middle will die soon;
• some people believe that it is unlucky to take a third light, that is, to be the third person to light a cigarette from the same match or lighter. (This superstition is said to have originated among soldiers in the trenches of the First World War when a sniper might see the first light, take aim on the second and fire on the third.);
• the phrase “Third time’s the charm” is the opposite of the previous belief and refers to the superstition that after two failures in any endeavor, a third attempt is more likely to succeed; although where something illegal is involved it can mean that the third man to do something gets caught.

Many world religions contain triple deities or concepts of trinity, including,

• the Christian Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit);
• the Hindu Tridevi and Trimurti (Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer );
• the Three Jewels of Buddhism;
• the Three Pure Ones of Taoism (heaven, human, earth);
• and the Triple Goddess of Wicca.

There are also three main Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

According to the Chinese, 3 is a perfect number.

To the Mayan, the sacred number of woman.

Egyptians see it as the number of the cosmos.

There are three types of universe  –  matter, astral (mental or soul) and spirit.

There are three main galaxy morphological classifications: Ellipticals, Spirals and Lenticulars.

The Roman numeral III stands for giant star in the Yerkes spectral classification scheme.

Earth is the third planet in its local Solar System, hence the name of the popular comedy show ‘3rd Rock From The Sun’.

The Moon has three phases.

Three is the atomic number of lithium.

Atoms consist of three constituents  –  protons, neutrons, and electrons.

There are three types of matter  –  animal, vegetable, and mineral.

There are 3 primary colors with which it is possible to obtain all the other colors we can see, because human color vision is trichromatic (because the brain uses three independent channels to process color information).

Strangely though, different applications use a different combination of primary colors, for example, CRT (TV) displays which use additive combinations of colors, normally have red, green, and blue as their primary colors; whereas in printing, which uses a subtractive combination of colors, the primary colors are usually cyan, magenta, and yellow; although most artists prefer the  red, yellow, blue combination.

Finally, a natural number is divisible by three if the sum of its digits in base 10 is divisible by 3. For example, the number 21 is divisible by three (3 times 7) and the sum of its digits is 2 + 1 = 3. Because of this, the reverse of any number that is divisible by three (or indeed, any permutation of its digits) is also divisible by three. For instance, 1368 and its reverse 8631 are both divisible by three (and so are 1386, 3168, 3186, 3618, etc..).

And finally, finally, how about 3 Degrees

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# Some Unusual Numerical Factoid Fun For Friday

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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We’ve had ‘beautiful’ numbers and ‘big’ numbers on this blog. Today it’s time for some ‘unusual’ ones.

Did you know….

That ‘1’ is the only positive whole number that you can add to 1,000,000 and you get an answer that’s bigger than if you multiply it by 1,000,000,

i.e. 1 x 1,000,000 = 1,000,000  but  1 + 1,000,000 = 1,000,001

Go ahead try it with other whole numbers.

That there are 12,988,816 different ways to cover a chess board with 32 dominoes.

That sixty-nine squared = 692 = 4761 and sixty-nine cubed = 693 = 328509, and that these two answers use all the digits from 0 to 9 between them.

That you can chop a big lump of cheese into a maximum of 93 bits with 8 straight cuts

That in the English language ‘forty’ is the only number that has all of its letters in alphabetical order.

That 132 = 169 and if you write both numbers backwards you get 312 = 961.

This also works with 12 because 122 = 144 and 212 =441.

That 1/1089 = 0·00091827364554637281… (And the numbers in the 9 times table are 0, 9,18,27,36…..)

That the number ‘four’ is the only number in the English language that is spelt with the same number of letters as the number itself.

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