Posts Tagged ‘numbers’

it’s mardi gras outside

February 17, 2010

The past few days when I wake up it’s been snowing, though there’s not much on the ground. It’s a running theme. Definitely the snowiest winter I’ve seen, and that’s not saying much. My friend EJ in Southern Ontario says they’ve had a relatively snow-less winter. Similarly, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver suffer from a lack of snow. We need to send some of the white stuff from D.C. to B.C.! (Ha…I wonder how many other shithead bloggers have already coined that one.)

Just today in Mesoscale we covered lake-effect snow, the kind most Ontarians usually deal with. This was right after I presented my forecast for Seattle. See, all B.S. meteorology seniors and some of the geography grad students at Western are participating in this national pay-to-play forecast contest. The forecast city changes every other week. We started off with Atlanta, and now it’s Seattle. Let me tell you, forecasting for Seattle (especially precipitation amounts) is a bitch.

(The funny thing is the models are showing a huge cutoff high developing over British Columbia and the Alaskan Gulf by the end of the week, bringing above-freezing temperatures as far north as the Yukon Territory, while the eastern half of the continent remains frozen. Those poor bastards in Vancouver.)

It was my second forecast discussion in two days. TJ (not related to EJ) and I gave a synoptic-scale discussion for the 424 Analysis & Forecasting kids on Monday. Drs. Goodrich and Durkee were present for that one.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT ONCE. This evening (immediately after the Seattle forecast and the lake-effect snow lecture) I started training for delivery at Mariah’s, a staple of Bowling Green dining. My friend Mike is a waiter there and put in a good word for me. I know a few others, too, so it looks like a good place to be. Again, it seemed like the perfect night for training: we got orders from our best and worst tippers, so I know who they are. A cop pulled up lights flashing behind an employee’s car as he was leaving—haven’t yet found out what that was about. Just walked into the kitchen like he owned the place, too. I had to wash the smell of bacon off my hands when I got home. Seriously, though. I work in a restaurant.

Then I watched the second half of the Kentucky–Mississippi game with my downstairs neighbors. John Wall isn’t the only important UK player, but I see magic in that kid. (Also in DeMarcus Cousins’s headband. It’s a ball magnet!) But really, number 11? My favorite prime number?! It really is! And he’s got the double-L in his name: Wa11. Eleven is a special number to me. I was born on the eleventh. And my name is John Wi11iam Ho11and.

And he’s the Great Wall of Kentucky. And he’s younger than me. To tie it all together, just like there’s a Boston U. player named John Holland (with the prime number 23 on his jersey), there’s a meteorology student here named John Wall—but he spells it differently.

So begins Lent. I’ll probably be giving up sleep.

It was a new moon Saturday. It was Valentine’s Day Sunday. President’s Day Monday. Fat Tuesday. Ash Wednesday.

Get my drift?

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encantado. igualmente.

February 1, 2010

So I started thinking about prime numbers, and why John Nash’s favorite prime would be 23. I think it’s because it’s the first prime number consisting of two consecutive primes: 2 and 3. I wonder if there’s a name for this kind of prime. The next one is 2,357, which shows you how common they are. Others include 3,137 (31 and 37), 5,711 (5, 7, and 11), 111,317 (11-13-17), 171,923 (17-19-23)… I found this site useful.

I found out the year of my birth, 1987, is a prime.

Then I started thinking about pi, how it goes on forever in a totally random, ever-changing sequence of digits. According to Cliff Pickover in Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves,

Recall that the digits of pi (in any base) not only go on forever but seem to behave statistically like a sequence of uniform random numbers. In short, if the digits of pi are normally distributed, somewhere inside pi’s string of digits is a very close representation for all of us. …We can even search for some of the first few consecutive runs using computer searches available on the Web. The string 123 is found at position 1924 counting from the first digit after the decimal point…1234 is found at position 13,807. 12345 is found at position 49,702, and so forth.

This means that you can eventually find your birthday in pi (Mine, 06111987, is found at position 148,775,398). Or your phone number, or your social security. Even a numerical representation of your DNA.

Sir or ma’am, you just got your mind blown.

(P.S. What’s the lowest number divisible by any number between 1 and 10? — 2,520)