Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Heaven is prime

The number of days left before rapture can be counted on one hand with fingers left as spares. I for one think pause should be taken to reflect on what this coming rapture date means. Before you know it the date will be history, and our perception of the events of 21 May 2011 will be clouded by certainty.

Certainty is the special province of history, theology, mathematics (some mathematics), and (as is made all too clear from the current rapture date) fools. It is almost impossible to pry loose from the mind the idea that certain events are destined to happen. Everything in history, without exception, occurred at some time. Just before the events took place they were just about to take place. In many cases there were clues that the events were about to take place. Sometimes, in hindsight, the clues appear unmistakable.

What are the clues presented for Saturday’s rapture event? My favorite is that (5X10X17)^2 = 850X850 = 722,500. I like this clue because there is certainty in it. Any reasonable method used to analyze this clue yields the same results; the square of 850 is 722,500. I also like it because by mixing certainty and absurdity one yields a product that is certainly absurd.

Mathematical certainty can be mixed with absurdity for positive results. I am reminded of an iconic story involving two notable mathematicians. Godfrey Hardy had traveled by taxi to a hospital to visit his friend Srinivasa Ramanujan. Hardy recalls the conversation dipping into mundane numbers as he sought to provide emotional support for his sick friend:

“I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways’”
                       1729 = 13 + 123 = 93 + 103

Ignoring Srinivasa’s slight oversight(in not specifying positive cubes) Godfrey must have been especially pleased at this display of mental acuity because it signified that his friend was not so sick that his thinking was muddled. Of all the conversations about numbers these two must have had over the years this simple exchange became legendary? It is certainly not because adding cubes is all that important. It is because friendship is.

1729 has become known as the “taxicab number”. Numbers that can be expressed as the sum of two cubes in to different ways are collectively known as “taxicab numbers”. If one does not specify positive cubes the smallest positive taxicab number is 91.

                      91 = 63 + (−5)3 = 43 + 33

There is no elegant dance of integer coitus that yields 722,500, but I should trudge through the “reasoning” used to produce it. The number 5 means atonement, 10 means completeness, and 17 means heaven. Since these numbers have some meanings they are multiplied together to get 850, which should then be squared because squaring things is nice. I have a difficult time squaring Mr. Camping’s number meanings with what I have always thought numbers meant.

I thought one used numbers in a sentence this way:

“One needs two five-bushel loads of crap to fill the ten-bushel bin with crap.”

But I must admit Harold’s (Harold Camping) meanings can be used to make sense:

“With enough atonement-crap one can really fill up with complete-crap”


Anonymous said...

722,500 days since April 1, 33 A.D is Saturday May 21 according to Camping is such a joke being that there is any calculation at all or will there be a rapture. Sure when it does not come Saturday, there will be a third calculation by Camping to bring $ into his church/radio show. I will not do the math, but ridiculous from the get go - consider that the Julian calender was way off for over a millennial because of a wrong calculation for leap years. Been using the Gregorian calendar since Feb. 24, 1582, but even that is off by 26 seconds, even in England and the US in 1752 they corrected by erasing 11 days with Sept. 2, followed by Sept. 14, 1752. If we use the old Julian dating system and add 722,500 days since April 1, 33 - that is January 1, 2011 - opps.

adult onset atheist said...

I always get caught by the switch to daylight savings time; I can understand how the shifting calendars of early history could trip one up.