Friday, July 25, 2008

Puzzle FUN!!

Attention planetosis victims!  Here is a super fun, non-math, puzzle.  The two names below have a special meaning.

And now without further time-warps here are the two enigmatic names:

  1) Janmar Mayjul
  2) Augoc T. Dec

  •   not a character in Sagan's "Contact" (book or movie)
  •   Not related to Nellie Narrow-Way
  •   not a hologram or a quark
  •   EvoEmo is a good guess, but wrong
This puzzle may be answered by the following:
  •   residents of the Privileged Planet may apply
  •   Aliens between the ages of 900-1500 are excluded
  •   Earthlings within the interval [-.75, 1005] may guess
  •   All relatives and friends of Ben Stein are eligible
  •   Answer appears in the Sep 2008 post

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Seven and the Weekness (can YOU feel it?)

  Carl Sagan quotes the following in “Cosmos,”
The universe seems… to have been determined and ordered in accordance with number, by the forethought and the mind of the creator of all things; for the pattern was fixed, like a preliminary sketch, by the domination of number preexistent in the mind of the world creating God.
Nicomachus of Gerasa
Arithmetic I, 6 (c. 100 A.D.)[1]
According to Sagan's story a message from the "intelligent designer" is hidden in the number pi (3.14159265358...).  Despite the hopeful promise of conversing with highly intelligent aliens, "Cosmos" leaves us with an EvoEmo attitude (see prior post).

  The number seven is often thought to be perfect or mystical. The reciprocal of seven leads to an ellipse. The five visible planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn), which travel in an ellipse, plus the sun and moon are considered to be the ancient foundation for the days of the week. Is there a better explanation? Fred Schaaf observes, “…unlike the day month, season and year – all of which have an astronomical basis – the time period known as the “week” seems, at first, to have no obvious relation to anything in nature.” [2] Schaaf points out that many “…adopt the seven-day week simply in imitation of God's six days of creation and one of rest…” but holds that there is a better reason for the seven day week, “The most likely answer is that there are seven celestial objects that have been known since ancient times to move regularly against the background of the distant unchanging stars: the five bright planets, the Sun, and the Moon.”
  Is Schaaf reasoning well founded? Why is each luminary associated with each day of the week? What about Saturday reminds us of Saturn. What is it about Mondays that reminds us of the Lunar orb? Why is Earth-day not included in the week? Would not a five day week make more sense on this assumption, based on the five visible planets?

  There are alternative explanations that are just as plausible. Some cultures, such as the Japanese, use the elements as the basis for the week. Why should this lead to exactly seven days? Consider the possibilities:
Four days: Earth, Air, Wind, Fire
Five days: Earth, Air, Wind, Fire, Metal
Six days: Earth, Air, Wind, Fire, Metal, Wood etc.
There are seven colors in a rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. Has anyone suggested this as a basis for the days of the week?

  The well-known historian Flavius Josephus (c. 37-100 A.D.) holds to the “beginning of the world” hypothesis for the origin of the week: “That in just six days the world, and all that is therein, was made. And that the seventh day was a rest, and a release from the labor of such operations…” [3] We will refer to this basis for the week as the “Josephus Principle.” The empirical distribution of cultural heritage favors Josephus’ view. Approximately 53.2% of the earths’ population belongs to cultural traditions that hold to the Josephus Principle - that is the origin of the week is derived from the interval of time that the Intelligent Designer used to make the world. [4]

  There is corroboration of the Josephus Principle from China. The seventh day of the Chinese New Year (first lunar month) is known as the “Birthday of Mankind.” [5] [6] According to Chinese folklore, the first human being was made on the seventh day. It is sometimes called “Everyone’s Birthday.”

  Has the Intelligent Designer provided a hint of the near universal seven day week within our own bodies? According to John Boslough, “A number of body-clock watchers believe we also tick to an array of weekly cycles. These regulate changes in body chemicals, the response pattern of the immune system, and a cyclic rise and fall of heartbeat and blood circulation. These rhythms, some chronobiologists believe, may help explain the designation of the seven-day week as a unit of time – the only calendar unit that does not trace its origins to astronomy.” [7] Why is it that difficult and hectic days often have the name “Monday?” Why is no restaurant named TGIM?

             sun MOON stars sky
             each week has 7 days
             can you SAY why?

1) quoted in Contact by Carl Sagan, 1985, Arrow ed. 1986, Arrow Books Limited, London, p. 422.
2) “Why Seven Days” by Fred Schaaf,
3) Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, Ch. 1, par. 1,
4) Christianity 33%, Islam 20%, Judaism 0.2%,
5) “Chinese New Year”
6) “Sou Bao: The Chinese Birthday Bun”
7) “The Enigma of Time” by John Boslough, National Geographic, March 1990, Vol. 177, No. 3, p. 127.

have you hugged an "opgane" today? (Orthodox Protestants who take Genesis as Historical Narrative)?
-> the Fall was man's Greatest Loss Of All Time
BEN STEIN where are you??