Fun_People Archive
18 Mar
CORRECTION Re: Forty-Six Possibly Interesting Facts

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 97 18:33:08 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: CORRECTION  Re: Forty-Six Possibly Interesting Facts

    As several alert Fun_People noticed, there was a slight error in the  
article entitled "Forty-Six Possibly Interesting Facts" -- the error was in  
the title itself; a word was inadvertently omitted.  The title should have  
		Forty-Six Possibly Interesting Possible Facts

    Interestingly enough (possibly), each Fun_Person chose a different way  
to point out this lapse.  Here are some examples:


From: Giles S Martin <>

A comment on three of your interesting facts, below.

> The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts)
> is the only place in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving
> under a car driving under an airplane.

I think you can do this at Grafton, in New South Wales Australia, where
there is a double-decked bridge across the Clarence River, with a road over
a railway line over the river.
[Not to mention the submarine under the scuba diver under the boat under the  
train under the car under the airplane under the space shuttle... -psl]

> Since 1896, the beginning of the modern Olympics, only Greece and Australia
> have participated in every Olympics.

This is a particularly remarkable achievement, since Australia only became
a country in 1901.  It had participated in two Olympic Games before the
Commonwealth of Australia came into existence on the first day of the
twentieth century (1st January 1901)!

> If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19.
> You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to
> make change for a dollar.

In Australia, you can have 1 50c coin, 4 20c coins and 1 5c coin, for a
total of $1.35 without being able to give change for a dollar.  (We no
longer have 2c or 1c coins -- if we did, you could add 4 2c coins, for a
total of $1.43.)

In Britain, before decimal currency, you could have had 7 half-crowns, 4
florins, 5 pennies, and 1 half-pence, for a total of 1 pound, 5 shillings,
and 11 1/2 pence, without being able to give change for a pound.

[Canada's got them all beat, you can have 3 quarters, 2 dimes, 4 pennies,  
and an infinite number of two-dollar coins (dubloonies, I calls 'em) for a  
total of infinite dollars and ninety-nine cents without being able to give  
change for a dollar.  Of course that's only about one dollar US at current  
exchange rates...  -psl]

From: (Charles Bigelow)

>In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

Hmmm. What about the lab rat and lab mouse?

[Those are old animals, obviously.  -psl]
From: Dan Nachbar <>

I should think that you'd have learned by now not to send out any "facts" ...

>There are only thirteen blimps in the world. Nine of the thirteen blimps
>are in the United States.

Nope. According to the 1993 Census of U.S. Civil Aircraft, published by the
FAA and the most recent information in print, as of 12/31/93 there were 37
blimps in the U.S.  In 1984 (as far back as that book goes) there were 11.
Goodyear alone has 8.

[Oh yeah?  Well, if that were so, wouldn't you expect to be able to find  
lots of companies making blimps?  That would be a blimp, er, ... renaissance  
... wouldn't it?  -psl]
Forwarded-by: "" <>
From: (Henry G. Baker)

> February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

This 'fact' was recently discussed on the math-fun mailing list, and
it is _not true_.  I don't recall the date, but it was something like
2/12/1865 was a full moon.

[Oh yeah?  Well then, how about quoting some famous mathematician?  Well?  -psl]
From: Adrienne Hoffman <>

> Giraffes have no vocal cords.

Dear Mr. Langston,
      I am Adrienne Hoffman, Michael Hoffman's daughter, and I have a
correction and 2 more facts about giraffes. The correction is about
girffes. They have voices boxes. They can snort like a pig, moo like a
cow, grunt like a bull, and snore like us. The 2 facts about giraffes
are they can knock off lions head's and the oldest giraff to almost 28.
I hope you like the facts.
Forwarded-by: "" <>
Forwarded-by: Thu Mar 13 07:59:02 1997
From: John Conway <conway@math.Princeton.EDU>

On Thu, 6 Mar 1997, Andy Latto wrote:

> What about September 1752? Did that month have a full moon?
> tigris% cal 09 1752
>    September 1752
>  S  M Tu  W Th  F  S
>        1  2 14 15 16
> 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
> 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
> The time at which the 11 days were dropped varies with place (I think
> September 1752 was England, and most of Europe was much earlier), so
> there are multiple dates to try in the search for a non-february
> month without a full moon.
> 					Andy Latto

     A nice question, which I should be able to answer at sight.

The age of the moon on the D'th day of the M'th month of the
(100C + Y)'th year of the Gregorian system   (0 =< Y < 100)
is roughly   D + M + 11y +c  (mod 30) where  Y is congruent to  y  mod 19
and  |y| < 10, while   c  is  -4  for  C = 19,  +1 1/3  for  C= 18,
and  + 6 2/3  for  C = 17.

   So for  14 September 1752  we get   14 + 9 - 55 + 7  (rounding up
by 1/3) == 14 + 9 - 25 + 7 = 5 days old.   So on the days of that Month,

   1  2  14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30  it was roughly
   3  4   5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21  days old,
showing that there was indeed a full moon, on around the 23rd or 24th,
but that there WASN'T a new moon!

    Since I've just pointed out that the missing "moon" of February 1865
was probably a NEW one rather than a FULL one, this (if we accept it)
means that 1865 shared its property with 1752.

    Let me just find the age of the moon on 14 February 1865 by the
above method (for which see Winning Ways page 799, by the way) using
the more accurate moon number  (m = 3 for January, 4 for February)
that takes account of the fact that February is 2 days shorter than
your average month:

     14 + 4 + 88 + 1  (rounding down 1/3)  = 14 + 4 - 2 + 1 = 17

which suggests that the full moon was a day or so earlier.  So I'll
recompute using the "more accurate" numbers given in WW

     14 + 4 + 28 + 1 1/3  + 1/4  =  17 7/12

which make it even worse, suggesting a full moon (age 14 3/4)  on
February 11 5/6, and a new one (age 29 1/2) around February 26.
The rule is often a day out, and can just be 2 days out, but the
would have to be about 3 days for this new moon to be on March 1
(= "February 29" in this non-leap year).

    So I now think 1865 must just be a misprint.  I shall think
about the likely Metonic phases for this sort of thing to happen.

                  John Conway
[Oh  -psl]
From: "Tim Anderson has no real life." <>

>There are only thirteen blimps in the world. Nine of the thirteen blimps
>are in the United States.

Do an altavista search for "blimp" and you'll find at least 13 companies
currently making blimps.

How could anyone miss the current blimp renaissance?

All these unattributed claims make me mad.
Who fabricated this nonsense?
What convinced them?

I bet emus walk backward just fine.

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