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FUN WITH NUMBERS

March 7, 2022

By Jim Rhodes

I posted this little quiz on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago on Feb. 22, which as you may remember was shamelessly promoted by retailers across the country advertising Twos-Day specials. Of course, when I was younger than I am now, it used to be celebrated as George Washington’s Birthday. Read on.

QUIZ FOR TWOS-DAY

Today is Tuesday, February 22, 2022, abbreviated as 2/22/22 in America or 22/2/22 elsewhere.

Either way, it’s a universal five-digit palindromic date.

(A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same frontward or backward, as in the statement that Napoleon Bonaparte might have uttered: “Able was I ere I saw Elba.”)

So here’s your quiz for Feb. 22 …

1. When is the last time this has occurred – a date with five identical digits in a row?

2. When is the next time it will happen? (Hint: it’s probably rarer than you think.)

3. And can you identify the next time a date with six identical digits will occur?

Bonus points if you can also give the derivation of the word Tuesday?

 

HERE ARE THE ANSWERS

There are only three dates on the calendar that can be represented with a five-digit numerical palindrome. They occur in January, February and November. Thus, this phenomenon only happens three times in each century.

The last occurrence was Nov. 1, 2011 (11/1/11).

We will not see another “Twos Day” in our lifetimes.

For the record, the next five-digit palindromic date will be January 1, 2111 (1/1/11), followed by November 1, 2111 (11/1/11) and February 22, 2122 (2/22/22).

There is only one six-digit palindromic date on the calendar, and that is November 11 (11/11/11). So, you’ll have to wait another 99 years.

Actually, if you’re so inclined, you can create a 10-digit palindrome if you take into consideration the time of day. Thus, 11 seconds after 11 o’clock on November 11, 2111, becomes 11:11 11/11/11.

And the bonus round …

Tuesday takes its name from Tiu, who was a deity in ancient Germanic mythology, coupled with dag, the German word for day. Hence “Tiu’s Day.”

And while I’m on a roll …

Sunday is named for the Sun, and Monday for the Moon.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are named for the Germanic gods Thor, Woden and Freya.

And Saturday is named for the ancient Roman god Saturn. The Romans celebrated a festival called Saturnalia in December. It was said to have been an occasion for drunken revelry and all manner of dissolute behavior.

My kind of holiday.