Saturday, November 30, 2013


Ezra was a 2-year old boy who needed a bone marrow donor which could save his life. No one listed in the donor registries was a match.  There are thousands of swabs containing DNA to be tested lying around labs, but are not being tested for lack of funds.  (It costs  $54 each)

The Maccabeats, a Jewish acappella group, put a Chanukah video on YouTube to raise money for processing the DNA swabs.  They raised $80,000.

News report: 

The video itself:

I have not been able to find out whatever happened to Ezra, or whether a match was ever found.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Everyone is making a big deal of Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah falling on the same day. In 2006, Purim, Pi Day and Inupiaq Day ALL fell on the same day, and hardly anyone noticed.

Strange, because you'd think such WIDELY celebrated holidays all falling together would have caused chaos with crowded stores and traffic jams.

What food could be served for such a day?  Well it should be possible to make something that is a cross between a pie and a hamentaschen. And make it with berries and seal fat.

Purim is the 14th day of Adar.  Pi Day is the 14th day of March.  Inupiaq day is, I think, the second Monday in March.

In addition to these 3 holidays, it was also Einstein's birthday.  But Einstein's birthday always coincides with Pi Day. Sort of like Boxing Day and the first day of Kwanzaa.


Thursday, November 28, 2013


The only other time that the first day of Chanukah fell on Thanksgiving was in 1888, on November 29. At that time, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the last Thursday of the month.

Assuming no calendar or date changes, the next time this will happen will be in 79,043 years from now. At the moment, The earliest Chanukah can be is November 28, and the latest Thanksgiving can be is also November 28. But in a few years the Jewish calendar will shift a day wrt the general calendar, and the earliest Chanukah can fall will be November 29. This will shift gradually throughout the next 80 centuries until the calendars line up the way they are again.

But that is assuming no calendar changes. The Jewish calendar will have to be adjusted because Pesach must come in the spring. We can't have it shifting through the year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The average cost of a wedding in the US is currently $29,000.

(source: Money Ning)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I HATE it when students ask "How many questions will be on the test?"  From now on, my answer will be "Fewer than 7,583."

Monday, November 25, 2013


President William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address. Unfortunately, he contracted pneumonia and died 30 days later, serving the shortest term.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


There was an ice storm in Anchorage Friday.  Driving was bad.  There were 54 vehicles in distress and 33 wrecks in the Anchorage area.  I cancelled my class - called in "scared to drive".

Saturday, November 23, 2013


The largest living organism ever found has been discovered in an ancient American forest in eastern Oregon. Officially known as Armillaria solidipes, or the honey mushroom, the fungus is 3.5 square miles and takes up 1,665 football fields.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Rwanda has the highest percent of female parliament members:  56

(US is 18%.)

2012 figures.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Apple sued Samsung and won.  Sumsung has to pay Apple 1.05 billion dollars.  Which they are doing - with 30 truckloads of nickels.

This dirty but genius geek troll play is a new headache to Apple executives as they will need to put in long hours counting all that money, to check if it is all there and to try to deposit it crossing fingers to hope a bank will accept all the coins.


I wrote this a day early and set it up to post.  Only then did I check Snopes.   It turns out that this story is not true,

21,000,000,000 nickels would require all the nickels produced in the past few decades.  That would require about 2,755 eighteen-wheeler trucks to transport.

This verdict had actually been thrown out.  however, there have been new verdicts, and Samsung does owe Apple $929.83 million.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


A narcissistic number is a number that is equal to the sum of each of its digits raised to the power of the number of digits it has.  There are 4 3-digit narcissistic numbers.

The sum of these is 1301.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


This is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  I wanted to find out how many words were in it and use that as today's number, but no one is sure of the exact words.  However, everyone is sure that it began with "Four score and seven years ago..." This is 87 years.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Thursday the United Nations passed 9 resolutions.  All were against Israel.

  • “Expressing grave concern” at Palestinian refugees “especially difficult situation.”
  • Reaffirming the “right” of Palestinians who left their homes during the 1967 war to return to their former residences.
  • Expressing grave concern about the “extremely difficult” conditions of Palestinians including those in Jerusalem.
  • Reaffirming that Palestinian refugees are “entitled to their property.”
  • A resolution that “deplores” Israel for its alleged practices that “that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.”
  • Demanding Israel accept “Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967.”
  • Reaffirming that “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development.”
  • “Expressing grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power.”
  • “The Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect and demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, rescind forthwith its decision,” read another resolution.
(If you were an Arab in the Golan Heights right now, would you rather be under Syria or Israel?)

A Spanish translator thought that was a bit much, and said so when she thought the microphone was turned off.

“I mean, I think when you have five statements, not five, like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there’s gotta be something, c’est un peu trop, non? [It’s a bit much, no?] I mean I know… There’s other really bad sh** happening, but no one says anything, about the other stuff.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013


The driving distance from Venus to Jupiter is 95 miles.  (The cities in Florida)

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I am not sure what he is talking about, but I'll look in to it.

18 = 3+6+9

Friday, November 15, 2013


Wu Conghan, 101 years old, and wife Wu Sognshi, 103 years old. They've been married 88 years and decided to get a new wedding photo.
What is really amazing is that they still fit into their wedding clothes!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The Freedom Tower, officially names 1 World Trade Center, is officially the tallest building in the US.  The spire reaches 1776 feet (541 meters) which is symbolic because the Declaration of Independence was signed in the year 1776 CE.

If you don't include the antenna, the height is only 1368 feet (417 meters).

The Sears Tower, which had been the tallest building in the United Sates is 1450 feet.

The World Trade Center (of blessed memory) had been 1368 feet.

The Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, is the tallest building in the world.  It is 2717 feet.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today is the 12th of November, 2013.  So this morning we had

08:09:10  11/12/13

in the US.

(I think the method for writing dates dd/mm/yy  like the do in may other places in the world makes more sense.  But no one asked me.)

I wasn't sure what number to put this under.

  -  My first thought was 10.5, the arithmetic average of 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.  Then I thought of 10.35877, the geometric mean of those numbers.

  -  But then I decided that today was probably the 735,183 since the first day of the year 1 CE based on 365 + 1/97 days per year.  And 08:09:10 am was after approximately 0.3397 of the day had passed.  So I went with the number I used.  (After all, the specialness of the second is based on the CE calendar.)

Monday, November 11, 2013


They began filming the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

on October(10)  2, 1960 at 5 am

at 727 5th Avenue at 57th St. (zip codes were not used back then).

OK, what can I do with these numbers?


The arithmetic average of the date numbers is:  (10+2+1960+5)/4 = 494.25

The arithmetic average of the address numbers is (727+5+57)/3 = 262

The  geometric average of the two is 2rt(494.25*262) = 360.5381.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This is the 38th anniversary of the adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution 3379, saying the Zionism is a form of racism.  The measure passed with a vote of 72 for, 35 against, and 32 abstaining.

So, the United Nations felt that it is racist to believe in Israel as Jewish country, which still has churches, mosques, and a huge Bahia temple, and whose population includes Christians, Muslims, and Druze.  However, they had no problem with Saudi Arabia which forbids any Jews from entering the country, and does not allow any religion except Islam to have a house of worship or be practiced in public.

The resolution was reversed in 1991.  The reversal passed with 111 for, 25 against, and 13 abstentions.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


All the factors of 6 add up to 12:  1+2+3+6=12.

All the factors of 11 add up to 12:  1+11=12.

12 is the lowest number to have TWO different numbers' factors add up to it.

Friday, November 8, 2013


When someone says you're "one in a million" they're telling you that there are 7,038 people just like you.  How is that a compliment?

--  Dr. Sheldon Cooper

Thursday, November 7, 2013


In one of the strangest cases of purported religious beliefs intersecting with athletic performance, a Kentucky junior cross country runner voluntarily walked away from a chance to qualify for the state meet to avoid running with the bib number "666", which she said conflicted with her Christian beliefs.

As reported in depth by Lexington NBC affiliate LEX18, Whitley County High (Whitley County, Ky.) cross country runner Codie Thacker voluntarily forfeited her spot in a regional championship race after her coach drew bib No. 666 for the runner. Thacker and her coach argued that she should be allowed to switch her number, but race officials refused the request.

Those officials would later deny that Thacker claimed she needed to change bib numbers for religious reasons, though the junior insists she was explicit about her motivation. To her, running with the number 666 on her chest would have signified a serious breach in her faith.

"I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number," Thacker told LEX18. "I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number."

The result was a third straight season when the cross country runner has fallen just short of the state meet, even though she had aggressively trained for the regional championship race since June. Thacker had hoped to earn headlines for her performance on the trails. Now she's getting attention for something else entirely.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Take any 3 digit number whose digits are all different.

I. Arrange the digits in ascending order.

II. Arrange the digits in descending order.

III.  Subtract the number you got in step  I from the number you got in step II

IV.  With the result, go back to the beginning and repeat.

Eventually, you will keep getting 495.

Monday, November 4, 2013


The prime factors of 4343 are 43 and 101.  They add up to 144.

The digits of 4343 are 4 and 3 and 4 and 3.  They multiply out to 144.

Cool, huh?

Saturday, November 2, 2013


803 is the sum of three consecutive prime numbers: 
 803 = 263 + 269 + 271. 
It is also the sum of nine consecutive primes: 
 803 = 71 + 73 + 79 + 83 + 89 + 97 + 101 + 103 + 107.