Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day 2009

Today is the perfect occasion to use my new favorite phrase:
"Is this some kind of joke?"

Yes, I woke up today and looked at the calendar, and for one sweet moment I thought it was all a dream. Like The Wizard of Oz. Or Dallas. Or Taming of the Shrew or Confessions of an Opium Eater. But no. Ah, well....

Still, leave it to CynSeattle (she of the beatifically pacific Mona Lisa smile) to point out that at least by one University of Portland professor's calculation, today is a perfect day. You see, 4-01-2009 equals a perfect square, and the next one won't come for 4,000 years. Check it out:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


The Oregonian Staff

You may think today is just another April Fools' Day, but Aziz Inan knows better.

And according to his calculations, we won't see another like it for 4,007 years.

Today's date, 4-01-2009, forms a seven-digit number, 4,012,009. And it's a perfect square, which means it has a square root that is a whole number: 2,003 times 2,003 equals 4,012,009.

The next perfect square April Fools' Day won't be until 6016, according to Inan, an engineering professor at the University of Portland.

Perfect-square dates are extremely rare. There were two in the 19th century and four in the 20th century, Inan says. But this century has a bounteous 24 perfect-square days.

The first was Sept. 1, 2004 (the square of 3,002). The second was last month, on March 5, 2009 (the square of 1,747).

"It went largely unnoticed," says Inan, who hopes more people pay heed to the squareness of today's date. "I'm trying to get national attention."

This is not to be confused with a square root day, when the numbers align so the month and day each equal the square root of the year, expressed in two-digit form. That happened March 3, or 3/3/09.

And while square root days have a bigger following and their own Facebook page, Inan isn't impressed. "Perfect-square days are much more sophisticated because here you are talking about seven- and eight-digit numbers."

You have noticed that on my blog, Cynthia has come to rival even the intrepid Prince Gomolvilas for scavengings from the culture of quotidiana. Which I can then swipe for my own purposes. Thanks, guys, and hoppy able foo daze to youse, 2.

1 comment:

cynseattle said...

I feel like I've won a sort of grand prize :-) Thanks Mead!

And my favorite thing about the perfect day article is the snobbery at the end...why it's superior to a simple squaree number.