Posted by: bkivey | 12 December 2012


Today is the last palindrome date of the century, marked by increased marriages in Asia and a small group of people convinced that it’s this date, and not the 21st, that signals Doomsday (NOTE: at 1830 local, Earth still here). Some fun facts about the number 12 from The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers (David Wells, Penguin, 1986).

  • 12 is divisible by the sum of its digits and by their product.
  • The product of the proper divisors of 12 is 12^2 or 144.
  • 12^2 =  144, and reversing all digits, 21^2 = 441.
  • The Romans used a duodecimal system for fractions. The English word ‘ounce’ comes from the Latin ‘uncia’, or 1/12.
  • One lb. is 12 ounces in the troy system of weights and measures, now used almost exclusively in the gem and jewelry trade.
  • In The Republic, Plato describes coinage, weights and measures, voting districts and representation, and fines for offenses in the duodecimal system.

Other fun 12 facts:

  • Humans can count in base 12 by enumerating on the phalanges (finger bones) of one hand (four sets of three), and keeping track of each iteration by bending the fingers of the other hand, until the full 60 is reached.
  • The 12’s are typically the limit of multiplication table memorization requirements.
  • The Dozens‘ is a form of teasing usually practiced by American blacks that starts with “Your Mama so fat/ugly . . .”. A quick wit and thick skin are prerequisites for holding your own.
  • One gross is 12 x 12 =144 of something. Used mostly in packing and shipping.
  • 12 men have walked on the Moon.
  • In football and soccer, a vociferously supportive crowd is said to be a ’12th Man’ for the home team. The tradition is so strong at Texas A & M that the entire student body is known as The 12th Man. The Seattle Seahawks raise a 12th Man flag prior to every home game.
  • In keeping with the season, there are the 12 days of Christmas, traditionally running from 25 December to 6 January (Old Christmas).

Math is Hard

From an article on the day from the ABC News site:

Today is 12-12-12, the last major numerical date using the Gregorian or Christian calendar for almost another century. The next time three numbers will align as they did on 9-9-09, 10-10-10 and 11-11-11 will be on Jan. 1, 3001, or 1-1-1.

The next palindrome date will be on a 1 January, but in 2101. And so on for the first day in every century.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: