August 8, 2008

Today is a rather special day in the Western calendar: the day on which we needn’t remember whether the dating convention is day-month-year, or month-day-year, or year-month-day.  Today we write them in any order we wish, and all is well.

To celebrate, I list a few interesting properties of the number 8. It is:

  • the smallest number of the form p^3, where p is prime.
  • the sixth Fibonacci number.
  • the number of bits in a byte.
  • the number of furlongs in a mile.
  • the number of known Stern Primes.
  • the number of legs on arachnids.
  • the number of distinct gluons mediating the strong nuclear force.
  • according to some, the number of planets in our solar system.
  • in medieval cosmology, the number of celestial spheres between us and the Primum Mobile.
  • the atomic number of oxygen.
  • the maximum number of electrons in the L shell of an atom.
  • the number of Beatitudes.
  • the number of notes in an octave.
  • the number of maids-a-milking given by my true love.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for some of these.)

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