Saturday, May 31, 2014


"079 me" is British slang for "call me".  079 is the most common cell-phone prefix.  The phrase comes from a song called (guess what?) "079 Me".

Friday, May 30, 2014


In Thailand, 555 is used like we use LOL.  The pronunciation of five five five in Thai sounds like a person laughing.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Some facts about the number 12:

 ->  12 is a superfactorial number - it is      1! x 2! x 3!

 ->  12 is the smallest abundant number.  (An abundant number is a number whose proper factors add up to more than the number itself.  The proper factors of 12 are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 which add up to 16.

 -> 12 is the largest number with just one syllable.

  -> Some ancient societies used a base 12 number system.

 -> 12 is a sublime number.  A sublime number is a number where the number of factors is a perfect number and the sum of its factors is a perfect number.  The factors of 12 are 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12.  There are 6 factors and they add up to 28.  6 and 8 are perfect numbers.  (A perfect number is a number that is equal to the sum of its proper factors.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Last year, Anchorage set a record for the number of consecutive days that reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Every day from July 16 through August 4 reached 70 or higher, making 20 consecutive days.

Monday, May 26, 2014


What a difference a year makes in Anchorage.

The high on May 17th, 2013 was 37°F, a record low maximum. 

In 2014, the high on May 17th was 73°F, a record high maximum.

This is a difference of  36 degrees.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


1,200 Jews were massacred by an Arab Christian mob attack on the Jewish section of Toledo, Spain, on this date (25th of Iyar) in 1355.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


The longest word to appear in an English language dictionary is


which is a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, causing inflammation in the lungs.  It has 45 letters.  Spell-check, however, does not seem to like it.

Friday, May 23, 2014


The Electronic Frontier Foundation is offering a prize of $250,000 to whoever is the first to find a prime number that is at least one billion digits long.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


The largest known prime number is 17,425,170 digits long.  It was discovered on January 25, 2013.  The number is 2^57,885,161 - 1.

(This superceeds my previous blog entry of 11/28/12 that the largest known prime is 12,978,189 digits long.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


There are 12 ways of arranging 8 queens on a chessboard so that no queen can attack any other queen.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


On this date by the Jewish calendar (20th of Iyar) thirteen Jews in Troyes, France were burned at the stake by the Inquisition on the 20th of Iyar in 1288. They were accused, in a blood libel, for the supposed murder of a Christian child. The thirteen Jews chosen were from among the richer members of the community.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Liouville's number 0.110001000000000000000001000 ...

1! = 1      (one factorial)
2! = 2x1 = 2   (two factorial)
3! = 3x2x1 = 6
4! = 4x3x2x1 = 24
5! = 5x4x3x2x1 = 120

Liouville's number is a decimal that is all 0s except for the decimal places that correspond to a factorial, where thee is a 1 instead.  So there is a 1 in the 1st, 2nd, 6th, 24th, 120th, 720th. etc place.

Since the decimal never forms a repeating pattern, it is not rational, meaning it can not be written as a fraction with a whole number over a whole number.  It is also transcendental, meaning it can not be the solution to an algebraic equation.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

2,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (Two undecillion)

A Manhattan man has sued the city, NYC Transit, Au Bon Pain Store, two local hospitals, Kmart, a “Latina” dog owner and anyone else he could think of – for $2,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000  (Two undecillion)
Anton Purisima, 62, filed the hand-scribbled lawsuit in Manhattan federal court seeking more money than what’s on the planet — and, in turn, likely setting a new record for a lawsuit money demand.
Purisima is representing himself.

He correctly listed the obscure number few have heard of in a fabulously frivolous 22-page complaint that rambles on by accusing the defendants of everything from civil rights violations to attempted murder.  While its difficult to decipher just what Purisima is accusing the defendants of, some allegations are clear.

His claims include having his middle finger infected and bloodied after being bit by a “rabies-infected” dog on a city bus and then having a “Chinese couple” taking unauthorized photos of him while he was being treated at a local hospital.  Included in the suit as evidence is a photo of his bloodied finger.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Some sicko Muslim group named "Boko Haram" (which means - Western education is forbidden) kidnapped some girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria.  They feel that Western education is the cause of the problems in Nigeria.  They have a history of killing students.  They also have a history of kidnapping girls and using them as sex slaves.  They are threatening to sell the girls. 

The reports say 329 were kidnapped and 53 escaped.  We can not be sure how correct these numbers are.

Here is the Wikipedia entry:

Thursday, May 15, 2014


When I was a kid, we only had 7 TV channels.  The dial went from 2 to 13, but we only had channels 2 (CBS), 4 (NBC), 5 (Some local channel), 7 (ABC), 9 (some local channel), 11 (some local channel), 13 (PBS).  The U on the dial let us choose a UHF channel by turning another dial, but they never came in well enough to watch.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


In the classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," the Enterprise and a space station become infested with adorable, trilling balls of fluff called tribbles. Tribbles are cute, so you may be inclined to keep one as a pet. But be warned: tribbles reproduce rapidly, so they will soon eat all of your food.

In this scene from that episode, Spock says that there are 1,771,561 tribbles onboard the Enterprise.


How does he come up with that figure? Kyle Hill, a science journalist, derived Spock's mathematical calculations

Above, I started with what I knew. For P (population) at time 0 (when the tribbles first came aboard), there was 1 tribble. Easy enough. We also knew, thanks to Spock, that after 72 hours, P was equal to 1,771,561. Now it gets a little more complicated.
To write a useful equation, what we really want to know is what the population of tribbles will be at any one time. Therefore, I wrote Population=P(t). But we know that tribbles grow exponentially (or we are checking that assumption), so we have to include that information. To find the rate of tribble growth, we take the mathematical derivative of Population=P(t) to get P’(t). Putting those two together we get P’(t)=kP(t). (This equation says that the rate of growth is equal to some constant k times the population at some time. pops out of the normal process of taking the derivative of a function.)


Saturday, May 10, 2014


American Apparel Has A 62-Year-Old Lingerie Model

American Apparel is known for its edgy advertising. 
Now, the brand has featured a 62-year-old modeling lingerie. 
"Sexy has no expiration date," the company writes in a Facebook post introducing the model, Jackie O’Shaughnessy. 
O'Shaughnessy's has appeared in the company's ads before, though never in lingerie, reports Alyssa Vingan at Fashionista. 
The model told Fashionista last year that she was scouted by the retailer while hanging out in the West Village of Manhattan: 
"I found a spot on the stoop and sat there smoking in my puffy winter coat and a woman walked by and said, 'You look so regal sitting there smoking that cigarette.' I said, 'Well, I don’t think most people would agree with you these days.' And she answered, 'It’s not the cigarette. You’re just beautiful,'" O'Shaughnessy said. 
She had never modeled before, but enthusiastically accepted an offer to work for American Apparel.

Read more: 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Shannon Number

The Shannon Number is the number of possible chess games.  It is estimated to be between 10^111 and 10^123.  For comparison, it is estimated that there are 10^81 atoms in the known universe.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


One of Albert Einstein’s Handwritten Letters sold on ebay for $3,000,100.

In 1954, the great physicist penned a candidly-worded letter to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind in which he defended his views on ethics, religion, and human nature. Nearly six decades later, it caused a minor media sensation by showing up on eBay.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


There were 112 measurable earthquakes in Alaska on May 4.  This was not an unusual day, my friends and I were just wondering how many there are per day so we counted the ones on May 4.  The largest one, which I felt, measured 4.7, was 41 miles SSE of Anchorage, and was 21 miles deep.  There was one that measured 4.5, and was near the Aleutian Islands.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Today is Memorial Day in Israel.  In the US Memorial Day is celebrated with a day off and picnics.  In Israel, Memorial Day is observed with a few minutes of silence in memory of the soldiers that have died in battle.  There were 23,169 of them.

Here is a website that lists them.  You can search by name, date, or town.  It is in Hebrew, however.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Approximately the weight of  Hummer divided by the weight of a Smartcar.

Friday, May 2, 2014


1 x 9 + 2 = 11

12 x 9 + 3 = 111

123 x 9 + 4 = 1111

1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111

12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111

123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111

1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111

12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111

123456789 x 9 + 10 = 1111111111

(listed as 9 because that is a constant in the calculations)

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Most spiders have 8 eyes.  The arrangement of the eyes varies by species.

Spider eyes.of a house spider, Tegeneria domestica.

zebra spider

The photographer thinks this is a huntsman spider.
 Eyes of Ground wolf-spider (Trochosa terricola)