The Beauty of a Circle

While I was running this evening, and my mind was wandering, I thought about the phrase a nice round number. I wondered to myself why we call them round numbers. And then almost straight away I answered my own question and said that it’s obviously because of the zero. Which is round. And round numbers always end in a zero.

Well, that’s that. Sometimes the answer is just that simple, and I’m even able to figure it out myself. Not that that stopped me thinking about numbers, and roundness of course.

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How Very Odd…

Odd is, in many ways, an odd word. It’s the opposite of even, referring to a number not divisible by two. But it can also mean strange. As well as those two common meanings, in some dialects of English it can mean occasional or infrequent. Consider the Australian Vietnam-War movie The Odd Angry Shot. In Ireland, we might say something like I only go to the cinema the odd time now, because it’s so expensive. These disparate meanings are all interconnected though. Continue reading


One of the first things most people do when learning a new language is to learn the numbers from 1 to 10, and shortly after that, from 11 to 20. And it’s generally quite easy to remember them in the case of European languages, as they’re somewhat similar to their English counterparts. Look at French, for example:

Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix.

Not necessarily all obvious individually, but seen all together, they’re clearly the first ten numbers. The same goes, I think, for 11 to 19:

Onze, douze, treize, quatorze, quinze, seize, dix-sept, dix-huit, dix-neuf.

Clearly a combination of ten and the relevant number, and the same applies to English (eighteen = eight + ten, for example). Except, that’s not quite true in every case, is it? What about 11 and 12? Continue reading


My god, what a number. Objectively, you might think it only somewhat interesting, largely, if not solely, due to those three consecutive nines. But it has a special, infuriating significance for me. Arriving home yesterday evening and going to my laptop, one of my primary thoughts was of my blog activity while I was away, a daily thought for me.

And as I was opening the laptop, a more specific thought occurred to me: having started the blog in May, I realised that the yearly section of the stats page was now slightly more interesting. Even though I’d only been blogging for six and a bit months, I was still curious to see what my final total views was. So I had as look and it was… Continue reading