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The Power of PHI

Warning: On first view, you will conclude that this week's website has absolutely nothing to do with teaching mathematics, let alone mathematics itself. YET...I expect you will play with it...and perhaps even show it to others...and perhaps make a transaction yourself (i.e. spend money)!

Somehow...by serendipity perhaps (actually it was an Omni article), I found myself on the web site Big Word Project and started exploring. Basically, a person can buy a word (must be in Oxford English Dictionary and then that word is redefined (i.e. linked) to be a chosen website.

The creators are Paddy Donnelly and Lee Monroe, collaborating on the web site and project when graduate students at the University of Ulster-Belfast. The duo have earned some money by this venture.

The charge is $1 per letter in a chosen word. So, being a math person, I checked out these words...with some unexpected results. Click them and see if you agree:

  • Math
  • Mathematics
  • Geometry
  • Arithmetic
  • e
  • pi
Some words not yet chosen: number, statistics, probability, or even algebra! So, they are yours for the taking (i.e. buying and linking).

To get some math involved, in the first two weeks of the project, 2000 words had been purchased from "a" ($1) to "zyzzyva ($7). As of my writing this review, they have sold 7,341 words. Suppose the average length of a word is 4 letters, then they have made....$$$!

Wait, make that 7,342 words....as check out the link for the word PHI...it is now re-defined to be this website!

Source: Omni, May 2008, p. 26