The 23rd

When 2 + 3 Is Not 5,
Some Call it an Enigma

Numbers and the Internet. Man-made to gauge and track the world, they’re now endless and will go on long after we’re gone. As matter can always be reduced to its numeric essence, so all manner of human expression may one day reside on the digital realm.
Take 23, for instance, the number assigned by fate to my first breath. Like with other numerals, there are hundreds of Websites about it, on math and numerology to cults and strange coincidences, with everything in between, besides, of course, celebrity birthdays.
Age-wise, few are like 23, and most of anyone would consider it among life’s best years. Perhaps. We tend to appreciated this sort of thing when we’re either heading towards it, or receding from it. But it is a time when choices are wide open and self-fulfillment is still a priority.
A mind-boggling assortment of arcana is related to 23 as a prime number, but even as its complexities keep planets spinning, and the Space Station aloft, few are wise to them. We all have 23 pairs of chromosomes, though, even if they no longer dictate one’s gender.
A curious statistical theory, the Birthday Paradox, says that within a group of 23 people, chances are, two share the same day of birth. That’s the least amount of people to whom such a likelihood is higher than 50 percent. But please, don’t go asking strangers for their day.

Yes, there are at least two weird groups that attribute 23 a special meaning. Discordianism associates it with chaos, with some mumbo-jumbo about inverting the pyramids (you read it right), and the goddess Eris. By the way, the Great Pyramid of Giza was built with 2.300 stones, so there you have it.
As for 23rdians, they see the number as an enigma permeating all spheres of existence, claiming author Robert Anton Wilson as a spiritual mentor of sorts. Wilson, in turn, may have caught the 23 fever from William Burroughs, who once told him about his own obsession with it.
Add to these, well, peculiar people, Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash. Despite his work on economics, he was almost better known for having a strange, and tragic, thing about the number (and Pope John XXIII, but if you have to ask, don’t). And of course, (more)
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Good Morning to All

Happy Birthday to Ya. Would
That Be Cash or Credit Card?

Minds of the practical kind know it all too well; birthdays can be expensive. And tricky too, specially if it’s your own mate’s, who happens to be picky about that sort of thing. Something else is increasing the overall price of celebrating you being around: the song everybody sings. (Don’t you dare, if you know what’s good for you.)
Good Morning to All, the tune American sisters Patty and Mildred Hill wrote in 1893 for school children to sing, somehow became Happy Birthday to You in the early 1900s, through a very serendipitous journey. Along the way, it changed copyright owners, got thrown into a corporate balance sheet and became very expensive indeed. 
Technically, every time someone sings it, which probably happens worldwide thousands of times a day, someone, or rather, some institution collects some dough. It used to be the estate of Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R.R. Forman, who were given credit for the new lyrics in 1935. Now, rather than pay up, some want this tradition changed.
Which means, there’s a new Happy Birthday song around the block, after a radio station in New Jersey set up a contest and chose a winner to replace the old tune. But it’s unlike that you’ll be hearing it sang by a group of underpaid waiters at your local diner anytime soon. These things take time.
Which is just as well. Nothing to remind you of its passage than that over familiar melody, and those repetitive chorus, which by the way, get different lyrics in different countries, not necessarily only its translation. But in English, it may only underline how old you really are. And that’s almost unbearable.
That could be also what’s behind WFMU‘s idea, when it teamed with the Free Music Archive to replace the copyrighted song. But the main point was to send the new one straight to public domain, so no one would (more)
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You Say It’s Your Birthday

The Day You Were Born:
Good to Party, Good to Go

It didn’t take too long for this one to get spoiled too. As much as one looks forward to it, according to a recent study, your own birthday may be a health hazard to you. But as you simply can’t stay clear from it, as you’ve wished pretty much since your 30th came and went like a night thief, there’s not much point in such a research, now is there?
And here’s another finding making people wonder, wasn’t anything else worthier finding? When it comes to births, not all days are equal and some produce more Americans than others. Now just imagine that, in old times, anyone armed with these two sets of data could become a king, an oracle, or at least, save themselves from a nice bonfire put up to send them off, birthdays be damned.
Both researches, as rigorously scientific and statistically sound they may be, may cater only to the kind of data-consuming lonely heart, who spends days uncovering hidden clues in newspaper articles and revels in writing passionate letters to the editor. We know it well, because we could be as well just like them. But this being another zany post, we’re running with it.
A word to the weary, though. Our brain is trained to see coincidences, even when statistically, what’s coinciding may be just an inevitability. Also, with help from computers to crunch and cross reference astronomical amounts of data, even the science of statistics can be misleading, by predisposing the researcher to see trends where there aren’t any. For more on that, read again the second sentence of this graph.
It’s never too much to add too that this kind of study may have a built-in self-fulfilling predicament in it. Impressionable minds are prone to seek clues for the ‘right time‘ to act upon deep-seated resolutions. Then again, their breaking point may come at much less Continue reading