Home > Math Lint Archive Detail

<< Prev 6/10/2007 Next >>

Unsettling Numbers

Yesterday, a friend (BG) sent this e-mail:

Last evening, I happened to look at the digital time, which showed "10:52." For some reason this number just doesn’t look good. Then I started thinking about other numbers and before I fell asleep, there were many that seemed okay, such as the palindromes and others have a good feeling, such as 286 or 34,567. So why are some numbers unsettling and if they really are unsettling do people shy away from them, which would mean we have discrimination due to the oddity of a number. Number prejudice?

I think I am still somewhat sane, but maybe the above is an indication that I am going f@(^ & I kjlka;j jlad;sjjasw90j dsjl;ja nallj dla lkj;j.

My friend BG perhaps needs to meet Mike Paradis, who (on his website The Outside of the Asylum )claimed; "I feel like if you were to punch me, numbers would come out. Large, squishy, unsettling numbers." What numbers would come out of you?

On this same subject, Daniel Chang wrote an interesting essay on Attitudes Towards Numbers Through History. He suggests that people have always given special significance to certain numbers (often culturally dependant) and claims that "attitudes towards certain numbers are said to have passed from one generation to the next."

So, I guess BG and anyone else facing unsettling numbers can blame it all on their parents!