Good Reading : July 2015
GOOD READING JULY 2015 51 BOOK BITE 1 writing, the average Bacon number for any actor was 2.998, making our Kevin the 370th most connected actor in history. Winona Ryder (2.994, 342nd) and Whoopi Goldberg (2.941, 104th) are both more connected than Big Kev, as are the 3 most connected actors at the centre of the Hollywood Universe: Robert De Niro, Dennis Hopper and ... drum roll, please ... Harvey Keitel, with a Keitel number of 2.849. 6 FACTS ABOUT 6 Six is a ‘perfect’ number. Perfect numbers are numbers that are equal to the sum of their factors (not including themselves). So 6 can be wr itten as1x6and2x3.Whenwe addthefactors,1+2+3=6. In addition to 6 equalling 1+2+3,wealsohave 6=1x2x3.Tosavetime we write 6 = 3! which we say as ‘6 equals 3 factor ial’. You might not think we’ve saved much time, but if you need convincing, try wr iting 100! out in full. The 6-sided regular figure (meaning it has all sides equal in length) is called a hexagon. Hexagons are important building blocks in nature and can be found in beehives, snowflakes, tortoise shells and the structure of countless chemical compounds. The only country with a minimum legal drinking age for consuming alcohol at home is the United Kingdom, which prohibits such drinking below the age of 6 years. Fair enough, really. While an adult male at rest has a heartbeat of around 72 bpm, a blue whale’s heart beats just 6 times a minute. At the other end of the spectrum, it’s estimated a canary’s heart can beat anything up to 1000 times a minute – if they’ve really been working out. Lastly, the amazing human small intestine is 6 metres long and full of all sorts of ... nah, you don’t want to know. THE AMAZING NUMBER 153 1+2+3+4+...+16+17=153,whichby itself isn’t that amazing. But 17 has given us an introduction to 153, one of my favour ite 3-digit numbers. For what looks like such an ordinary number, 153 has a load of amazing properties: 153 = 13 + 53 + 33 making it ‘narcissistic’ 153=1!+2!+3!+4!+5! The sum of the digits of 153 is a perfect square(1+5+3=9)andthesum of all of the factors of 153, apart from 153 itself, which we call the ‘aliquot’ parts of 153, is a perfectsquare(1+3+9+ 17+51=81=92). Not only that, 153 is a Harshad number because it is divisibleby1+5+3=9. Add 153 to its reverse and youget153+351=504. But5042=288x882 making 504 the smallest number whose square is equal to the product of two numbers that are each other’s reverse. And while we’re on the topic of reversing the digits of 153, we started with: 153=1+2+3+4+...+17and351 = 1+2+3+4+...+25+26. And just to finish us off, 153 = 3 x 51. Nice work, 153. Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers is published by Xoum, rrp $29.99. A canary’s heart can beat up to 1000 times a minute.