Ed Said - Welcome 2016
Just another year? What could be different? In the end, events of 2016 will figure somewhere in history with some monumental events both locally and globally. Referred to as Twenty-sixteen and adding them together, what, I wondered, could be the significance of this number 36?
I found it does seem to figure prominently in the annals of history. For the mathematicians among us, 36 is both the square of 6 and a triangular number, making it a square triangular number.
It is the smallest square triangular number other than 1, and is the only triangular number other than 1 whose square root is also a triangular number. It is the sum of a twin prime (17 + 19), the sum of the cubes of the first three integers, and the product of the squares of the first three integers.
It is the number of degrees in the interior angle of each tip of a regular pentagram.
The number of domino tilings of a 4 × 4 checkerboard is 36 and although we are now mostly metric there are 36 inches in a yard. Jewish tradition holds the number 36 in special significance since the beginning of time: According to the Midrash, the light created by God on the first day of creation shone for exactly 36 hours.
The Torah commands 36 times to love, respect and protect the stranger and in every generation there are 36 righteous people in whose merit the world continues to exist. In the modern celebration of Hannukah, 36 candles are kindled in the menorah over the 8 days of that holiday.
In one Maori legend, concerning the creation of mankind by the god Tane, 36 gods took active part in assembling the various parts of the first human before Tane breathed life into her.
The game of roulette has 36 numbers on the playing grid and roulette wheel.
In the UK, a standard beer barrel is 36 UK gallons and many early computers featured a 36-bit word length. Whichever of these bits of info may attract your attention there’s no denying we all seem to feel a ‘newness’ in turning the page from December 31 to January 1. It’s a time for trying new things, succeeding at some and, sadly, failing miserably at others, and getting over it.
It will be another year of the joy and sadness, welcoming new family members and saying farewell to others. We will all grow somewhat. From toddler to school, from high school to University, into marriage, possibly out of marriage.
Many will graduate to a new decade, step entirely outside their comfort zone or receive a new awakening through experience that will change their lives exponentially.
Others will move from senior to senior citizen and so it goes – the same progression of humanity as it has for more than 2000 years but just a whole different set of circumstances and challenges. How we react to those challenges will decree the outcome for ourselves and those around us. What’s past cannot be retrieved. The older I get, the more philosophical I become and though we are meant to learn by our mistakes I find it convenient to hide behind the adage ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’
The main thing in my book is to look forward. In the words of Mark A. Cooper: “Life has no remote... get up and change it yourself!”