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.


  1. I'm so glad that other people think about numbers in this way.

  2. Haha. You guys have the funniest conversations. I can totally picture you guys sitting there talking about numbers.

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  4. lunch conversations are the best!! I've had some pretty awkward ones. I don't think it's ever completely about good and ugly numbers, though. you crack me up.

  5. I personally think that 42 is the best number ever. 6X7, both very lovely, plus its first digit is divisible by the second. Just enough symmetry (6) to make it satisfying, plus lucky 7 for spice.