## Wednesday, October 12, 2011

### Ugly numbers

This was our mealtime conversation today.

I: J's birthday is today. He's 28. We spent some time talking about how 28 is a perfect number.

C: Why?

I: Because it is one of a few numbers whose factors add up to itself (1, 2, 4, 7, 14). 6 is another example.

C: 28 is more impressive. It's bigger and still pulls it off. Like how big prime numbers are more impressive.

I: Prime numbers sure are ugly numbers

C: What do you mean?

I: Think about it. 13. What could be uglier than that? Or 11? Or 17?

C: I have positive emotional associations with 17. I idolized that age from the time I was young. I can't think badly about it.

I: You have to let those go. We're talking about the number, not the age. 17 was the best year of my life, but it's still an ugly number.

C: I'm sorry. I can't do it. 17 isn't ugly.

I: Well, you can't argue against 11 and 13.

C: You have to admit that 11 is lovelier than 13.

I: I think that's because 13 follows 12. And 12 is almost a perfect number.

C: Yeah, 12 really is a tough act to follow. Poor 13.

I: 5 and 7, though. Those are exceptions. They're almost as perfect as 12.

I still think I'm right about 17.