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Goings on at the Because We Cannery

What's in a number?

So my Dad's an engineer, an extractive metallurgist. He's a huge influence on me and my more technical, geeky nature. When I recently got my Architect's licence he sent me this wonderful note on the palindromic nature of my licence number. I loved it, and wanted to share it with everyone. Enjoy!


There is a lot more to this number than just a palindrome. There are three prime factors 2 – or 2 taken 4 times, 7 (cooler yet) and 211 (amazingly cool). As you know, primes follow Benford’s Law. Briefly, Benford’s Law states that the first digit in many series of numbers reflecting natural phenomena decrease in frequency logarithmically as the first digit increases. Large prime numbers occurring as prime factors in large numbers have intrigued thinkers for years. If you take all the factors of 23632 you will find that there are 17, also a prime number with a cool 7 in it (this is only true if you join the mathematical argument that 1 is prime, I am in that school because 1 meets the simplified definition of being divisible by only 1 and itself).

Now if you take the prime factors – 2, 7, and 211, you will see that they can also be arranged into palindromes 21712 or 12721. Is that yet even cooler yet? It is so statistically improbable that I suggest that you immediately change all passwords on your accounts, IT stuff and also some of your lifetime objectives to one of the two numbers. I prefer 12721 because HOLY CRAP!!!! IT IS ALSO PRIME.

Maybe I just discovered McGrew’s law!

Now here is some fatherly wisdom – set some lifetime objectives with this number in mind. Earn 12,721,000 dollars in your life’s work. Touch 12,721,000 people’s lives – you are already on a good pathway to do that. Shed 12,721,000 worries in your lifetime that really don’t deserve your attention. Experience 12,721,000 joys and don’t be ashamed of the 12,721,000 tears that go along with the sad things that accompany them. Make objectives for yourself that are challenging but reasonable. Perhaps you would keep this frivolous Suggestion # 23632 to heart, write down those objectives and then take them out and read them after you retire!

Jeffrey McGrew