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Friday, April 13, 2007

Some Reasons to Love the Number 13

Thirteen gets a bad rap. Elevators pass it right by and would-be axe murderers wait until days just like today to go on their killing sprees.

In honor of this misunderstood number, I thought I would give a few reasons why 13 isn't so bad. For starters, it's the first "teen." Our Germanic heritage saw to it that 10+1 and 10+2 had entirely different forms than the rest of the 10's. They are both throwbacks to Old English and completely isolate themselves linguistically from the others. But many an adolescent knows that with 13, there comes power- the power of the teens.

It's also a prime number, which makes it part of one of the most mysterious and captivating groups of mathematics. Great minds through the ages, from Gauss to Riemann, have gone in search of the secrets of the primes, only to return in failure.

Lastly, at least for my purposes, it appears in the Fibonacci sequence, and therefore is intimately connected to the Golden Ratio phi and through it the rest of nature.

So the next time you shudder in fear at the number 13, remember all that it does for you.

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