NO SUCH LUCK or Numerology for IdiotsNovember 22, 2011
Your mission, mathspigs, if you choose, is to spread mathematical thinking.
But we ALSO endeavour to debunk those who attribute magical meaning to numbers. Numerologists, psychics and clairvoyants often attribute mystical powers to numbers simply because they do not understand the concept of RANDOMNESS.
Here is a quote from Does 11.11.11 Have Anything to Do with Science?, Scientific America on, naturally, 11 Nov 2011.
“Numerological coincidences remain fascinating precisely because they can boast no general or cosmic meaning whatsoever,” (Stephen Jay) Gould explains in I Have Landed: the End of a Beginning in Natural History. The “eerie fascination” many people have with “coincidence and numerology” Gould attributes to the fact that people have “so thoroughly misunderstood probability.”
Then there’s dealin’ with the crazies like pi, e, i, infinity and all those IRRATIONAL NUMBERS. Yep! Maths involves dealing with lots of crazies. (See Below.) But we can do it, mathspigs.
BAD 1: There are LUCKY NUMBERS
WHAT 6 NUMBERS WOULD YOU USE IN A LOTTERY DRAW?
Birthdays, favourites, ages, lucky numbers ……? It doesn’t matter. The chance or probability is the same. There are no lucky numbers.
What are the chances?
The chance or probability of 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 being selected in a 6 ball draw is THE SAME as any other combination of 6 numbers out of 49, which is 13,983,816.
Yet we see 1,2,3,4,5,6 as an UNLUCKY NUMBER combination for no reason.
This is the GAMBLER’s ERROR. There is no such thing as LUCKY NUMBERS or UNLUCKY NUMBERS.
BAD 2: There are MAGICAL NUMBERS
Was Friday 11.11.11 more significant than, say, today 22.11.11 or in USA 11.22.11?
Ooooooo Magic!!!!! Lots of people thought 111111 was a LUCKY NUMBER.
Mathspig writes for newspapers. One reader WHO turned 11 on 11.11.11 e-mailed me asking if I’d like to write an article about her.
Firstly, there is no special meaning in 11.11.11. It just looks pretty and, in reality, her birth date is 11.11.2011. Ooops!
Secondly, in the UK 1,490 kids turned 11 on 11.11.11. In Victoria, Australia, 160 kids turned 11 on 11.11.11. Not so special then. Not so LUCKY.
Just because a number has a pretty pattern doesn’t make it MAGICAL.
There are, however, some Fabulously FREAKY Numbers.
Take 111111 for instance. It is an absolutely fabulous number. The Math Less Travelled blog explains that numbers of the following sort:
are called (Base 10) REPUNITS.
….. REPUNITS …
And you can prove that every Prime except 3 or 5 are factors of a repunit. This is UNIVERSITY MATHS so you better go to THE MATH LESS TRAVELLED Blog for this proof, meanwhile here is a sample:
And the Winner is REPUNIT 19.
1111111111111111111 is a PRIME NUMBER! Wow!