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Favorite numbers - Input Junkie
August 21st, 2011
05:13 pm

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Favorite numbers
Article about favorite numbers. And a survey about favorite numbers.

The article isn't quite the same as the radio piece, which included that Alex Bellos, as a mathematician, was annoyed by people who kept asking him what his favorite number was, and he couldn't imagine having preferences among numbers.

Eventually, he turned his annoyance into curiosity (I'd say this is a sign of a civilized person), and started asking people about their favorite numbers, and found that a lot of people have strong opinions on the subject. Some people like numbers for their mathematical qualities, and some have anthropomorphized fantasies about their favorite numbers. (See the article for cute illos of the fantasies.)

Also, while 7 is the best-liked number (worldwide and cross-culturally), the survey is only recently getting spread into China, so I wonder if there are going to be more people who like 8.

There was no mention of fanfic about numbers, but if you know of any, please post.

Not only do I not have a favorite number, but when I was a kid, my piano teacher asked me whether I preferred sharps or flats. It may have been whether I preferred key signatures with sharps or flats. In any case, I stopped dead because I didn't have a preference and couldn't imagine having one. It turned out that I was the only student he'd ever had who didn't have a preference.

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[User Picture]
From:asakiyume
Date:August 21st, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Eventually, he turned his annoyance into curiosity (I'd say this is a sign of a civilized person)

I like this notion! I think you're right.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:August 21st, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
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I wonder how popular 42 is.
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From:beamjockey
Date:August 21st, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
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What's the mean favorite number? What's the median favorite number? What's the modal favorite number? How does the distribution of favorite numbers change over time? Are there cultural factors that change the distribution, like when a popular TV show starts to get people thinking about 90210?

Why were there so many films with "nine" in their titles a couple of years ago?

How many children have numbers for names? What's the distribution of THAT?
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From:dcseain
Date:August 22nd, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
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in China, ordinals are not uncommon names. My uncle had a coworker who goes by Number Nine in English, but whose given name is Dì Jiŭ (第九), roughly: ninth in order.
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From:thnidu
Date:August 22nd, 2011 12:59 am (UTC)

There's this kid...

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Young Mad Scientist in development

(on my own LJ)

Edited at 2011-08-22 01:00 am (UTC)
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From:tomscud
Date:August 22nd, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
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There was no mention of fanfic about numbers, but if you know of any, please post.

Six's Story from Hitherby Dragons probably qualifies.
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From:kgbooklog
Date:August 22nd, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
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There was no mention of fanfic about numbers, but if you know of any, please post.

"The Girl Called Polly Nomial"
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From:nancylebov
Date:August 22nd, 2011 10:54 am (UTC)
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The story uses rape as a scaffolding for a bunch of mathematical puns. I'm not sure how much I care, but in case anyone isn't in the mood for such a thing, they're now warned.
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From:thespian
Date:August 22nd, 2011 03:18 am (UTC)
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I like numbers that, when divided, added, multiplied or subtracted, are more than 2 digits, whole, and end in 8. The number can be of any size, but for some reason, I feel...just a little satisfaction when 8 shows up there. I don't feel any attraction to it at other times. I remember, as a child, feeling vaguely irritated by 7 and 9 in the same position (that seems to have gone away).

Also I like Tuesdays, and I have no idea why. There hasn't been an excess of good events on Tuesdays or anything. I've just always been well disposed to them, for no real reason.
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From:dcseain
Date:August 22nd, 2011 05:58 am (UTC)
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I think Tuesday is the best day of the week to have off from work.
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From:agrumer
Date:August 22nd, 2011 03:38 am (UTC)
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Isn't all of mathematics fanfic about numbers?

When I was a kid, I had a children's book of stories about anthropomorphizations of the Hebrew letters. Traditionally, the Hebrew letters also serve as numbers, so maybe that counts, although it was professionally published, so not really fanfic.
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From:lilairen
Date:August 22nd, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)
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... I think the sharp sign is prettier, but that doesn't actually mean anything about anything?
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From:dcseain
Date:August 22nd, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
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I also cannot imagine having a preference for sharp or flat key signatures.
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From:carbonel
Date:August 22nd, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
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When I was taking piano as a kid, I had a preference for music in the key of C, but that was for obvious reasons.
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From:redrose3125
Date:August 26th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)
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I'm rather fond of 0 - round, additive identity, placeholder, and sophisticated mathematical concept.
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