Posts tagged ‘WordPress’

What is Your Favorite Number?

The WordPress Post-A-Week Challenge sends me a daily topic idea to consider for blog posts. Often, the prompts are not appropriate for a math jokes blog. For instance, some recent prompts have been:

  • Grab the nearest book (or website) to you right now. Jump to paragraph 3, second sentence. Write it in a post.
  • How do you find your muse?
  • If you could bring one fictional character to life for a day, who would you choose?

But today’s prompt landed in my wheelhouse:

What is your favorite number, and why?

When Art Benjamin appeared on the Colbert Report, he said that 2,520 was his favorite number when he was a kid. When Stephen Colbert asked him why, he replied, “It was the smallest number that was divisible by all the numbers from 1 through 10.”

Tonight, I asked my twin sons Alex and Eli what their favorite numbers are.

Eli: 5, 15, 55, because my favorite number is really 5, but 15 and 55 are triangular numbers that have 5’s in them.

Alex: 21, because my favorite numbers used to be 1 and 2, and because it’s the number of cards you deal when we play Uno (3 players, 7 cards each).

My favorite number is 153, for lots of reasons:

  • It is the smallest non-trivial Armstrong (or narcissistic) number — that is, it is an n‑digit number that is equal to the sum of the nth powers of its digits: 13 + 53 + 33 = 153.
  • Its prime factors are 3 and 17, and my birthday is 3/17.
  • It is a triangular number. (Consequently, it’s the sum of 1 + 2 + 3 + … + 17.) As 351 is also a triangular number, 153 is also a reversible triangular number.
  • It is the sum of the first five factorials: 1! + 2! + 3! + 4! + 5! = 153.
  • The sum of its digits is 9, and the sum of its proper divisors is 92.
  • It is one of only six known truncated triangular numbers, which means that 1, 15 and 153 are all triangular numbers.

Mathematician John Baez claims that his favorite numbers are 5, 8, and 24.

Got a favorite number? Share it, as well as the reason it’s your favorite, in the comments.

March 21, 2011 at 4:24 am 8 comments

My Perfect Sunday

WordPress is doing this thing called the Post A Week Challenge, where they challenge bloggers to publish at least one post a week for the entire year. One of the requirements to sign up is to post a message that announces you’re participating in the challenge. So, consider yourself warned — let this message serve as notice that I’ll be posting drivel at least once every seven days. (FYI, WordPress is also running a Post A Day Challenge, but I have too many commitment issues for that. I also have twin toddlers, so it’s unrealistic to think that I could actually post something every day.)

To help folks who have trouble finding something to write about every day, they are also running The Daily Post, a collection of suggestions for what to blog about. Many of these topics strike me as silly; more importantly, they aren’t relevant for a math jokes blog. For example:

  • What is your favorite sound?
  • Do you prefer to talk or text?
  • How do you define a friend?
  • Describe the sound of your laugh.

However, yesterday’s suggestion — What is your perfect Sunday? — may have been relevant for a math jokes blog. For instance, I could have written a witty post about how my perfect Sunday would involve a long walk on the beach while doing double integrals in my head. Or in the sand. While watching the sunset and thinking, “Gee, look at the majestic sky. I bet it contains all 216 web‑safe colors.”

But instead, I’d like to pretend this isn’t a math jokes blog and tell you about my truly perfect Sunday.

It would start with my twin sons sleeping till at least 7:30 a.m. (Oh, glory be!)

Following a breakfast of challah French toast prepared by my wonderful wife, we wouldn’t do much for the rest of the morning. Maybe read a good book, and then walk to the local bowling alley for a game.

Lunch at our favorite place, Pizzeria Orso.

An afternoon at a friends’ house. Our kids would enjoy their son’s toys, and the adults would enjoy watching a football game unencumbered by emotions, because no one really cared if the Bears or Packers won.

A fine dinner, maybe grilled salmon or crab cakes — or both.

Then, after the kids are asleep, retreating to the basement with a slice of chocolate cake, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and a pint of Three Philosophers Quadrupel, poised to watch a recorded version of the Steelers beating the Jets 24‑19 in the AFC Championship to advance to Super Bowl XLV.

And finally, as I lay down to sleep, to realize exactly why all nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function have a real part of ½.

(In fact, all of those great things did happen yesterday, except for that last one. Alas, no Fields Medal for me this year, either. But another Steelers trip to the Super Bowl is almost as good.)

January 25, 2011 at 8:18 am Leave a comment


About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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