Thursday, December 13, 2012

12-12-12: Come and Gone - Now What?

One has to love these kinds of dates.  They are cool and easy to remember.  People get get married on such dates to make their anniversary dates both special and easy to remember.  Expectant women hope their children are born on such dates so that they will have way cool birthdays.

           But really, beyond the easy to remember and all around coolness, what is so special about these dates?   There is nothing really mythical or magical about them.  The day is special on our calendar because of the number pattern but probably just another day on the Chinese and Jewish calendars.  These special dates are set depending on when the zero was set for the calendar numbering system.  Ours BC/AD system is based on the birth of Christ even though that is celebrated on December 25th and not the first day of the year which is when it should logically be.  If that were the case, 12-12-12 would have been six days ago... or is it six days from today.  It really is relative.  Lets not even bring the whole Leap Year thing into this.

There were postings on facebook and elsewhere that made everyone stop, think, and appreciate this day perhaps a bit more.  The message was:

You just realized...12-12-12 is the last repetitive date we will ever see.

It began with the second New Years Day of this century, 01-01-01, and we have had one every year until today.  There have been twelve of these.  I remember a lot of people wanting to get married on 07-07-07.  The Beijing Olympics began on 08-08-08.  Now, there will be no more for most of us.

Wait... how about February 2, 2022.  Isn't that 2-2-22.  It is not exactly repetitive, but it certainly has that feel about it.  Eleven years one month and one day after that, some of us will see 3-3-33 and so on.  The frequency will be less but these dates will be as memorable and meaningful as any we have seen thus far this century.

I am not as partial to these repetitive dates as I am to sequential dates.  Next year, we have November 12, 2013 and the year after that December 13, 2014 which, respectively, are 11-12-13 and 12-13-14.  Consider May 5, 2015 or June 12, 2018.  They will be multiple days i.e.  5-10-15 and 6-12-18

If we expand to Pythagorean Triples, a vast majority of us will 5-12-13, 8-15-17, and 7-24-25.  Maybe we should make consecutive prime numbers special.  The next two of these are 7-11-13 and 11-13-17.

A bigger deal has been made of March 14th the past few years.  It is called Pi day because it is 3.14, the first three digits of the irrational number Pi.  March 14, 2015 will be 3.14.15 which is the first five digits of the famous number.

So, all is not lost.  There is no shortage of interesting and memorable days coming up in the next few years even if you are not a mathematician.  I am not sure anyone, but me, will be posting this on facebook.

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