42 Fun Facts About the Number 42

In honor of my 42nd birthday, here are 42 fun facts about the number 42:

  1. 42 is the natural number following 41 and preceding 43.
  2. 42 is an even number.
  3. 42 is a pronic number.
  4. 42 is an abundant number.
  5. 42 is a Catalan number.
  6. 42 is an alternating sign matrix number.
  7. 42 is a Størmer number.
  8. 42 is a sphenic number.
  9. 42 is a primary pseudoperfect number.
  10. 42 is a pentadecagonal number.
  11. 42 is a meandric number.
  12. 42 is the sum of the first six positive even integers (2 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 10 + 12).
  13. 42  is the maximum number of points awarded in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program.
  14. 42 is a Harshad number.
  15. 42 is the number of partitions of the number 10.
  16. “42” is an episode of the television show Doctor Who.
  17. “42” is a song by Coldplay.
  18. Cassius and Brutus, the main conspirators in the assassination of Julius Caesar, died in the year 42 BC.
  19. The Gutenberg Bible contains 42 lines per page.
  20. 42 is the number of Fox Mulder’s apartment in the television show The X-Files.
  21. The door to heaven in the television show Supernatural is marked with the number 42.
  22. 42 is one of “the numbers” in the television show Lost.
  23. 42 is the atomic number for molybdenum.
  24. The Messier object M42 is magnitude 5.0 diffuse nebula in the constellation Orion, also known as the Orion Nebula.
  25. The New General Catalogue object NGC 42 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pegasus.
  26. Kepler-42 is a red dwarf star in the constellation Cygnus.
  27. There are 42 US gallons on a barrel of oil.
  28. The Roman numeral for 42 is XLII.
  29. William Jefferson Clinton was the 42nd president.
  30. The board game Risk has 42 territories.
  31. In Egyptian mythology, there are 42 questions asked of persons making their journey through Death.
  32. 42 is the number with which God creates the Universe in Kabbalistic tradition.
  33. 42 is the number of the French department Loire.
  34. 42 is a trick-taking game played with a standard set of double six dominoes.
  35. Pope Boniface I was the 42nd pope.
  36. Washington was the 42nd state to be admitted to the Union.
  37. 42 was the calling code assigned to Czechoslovakia.
  38. 42 is the retired jersey number of Jackie Robinson.
  39. In Japanese culture, the number 42 is considered unlucky.
  40. 42 is the car number currently driven by NASCAR driver Kyle Larson.
  41. 42 in binary is 101010.
  42. 42 is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

41 Fun Facts About the Number 41

In honor of my 41st birthday, here are 41 fun facts about the number 41:

  1. 41 is the natural number following 40 and preceding 42.
  2. 41 is an odd number.
  3. 41 is a prime number.
  4. 41 is a twin prime with the number 43.
  5. 41 is the sum of the first six prime numbers (2 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 13).
  6. 41 is a supersingular prime.
  7. 41 is a Sophie Germain prime.
  8. 41 is a Newman-Shanks-Williams prime.
  9. 41 is an Eisenstein prime.
  10. 41 is a Proth prime.
  11. 41 is the largest of Euler’s lucky numbers.
  12. 41 is the sum of two squares (16 + 25).
  13. 41 is a centered square number.
  14. 41 is the first number in a Cunningham chain consisting of 41, 83, and 167.
  15. Adding up the sums for the divisors of the numbers 1 through 7 yields 41.
  16. Symphony No. 41 is the last symphony of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  17. “#41” is a song by the Dave Matthews Band.
  18. Roman emperor Caligula was assassinated in the year 41.
  19. 41 was Charlton Heston’s designation as a warship slave in the film Ben-Hur.
  20. 41 is the code number given to Tetsuo Shima in the film Akira.
  21. 41 is Billy Cole’s jersey number in the film The Last Boy Scout.
  22. Cary Grant is attacked by a crop duster on Highway 41 in the film North by Northwest.
  23. 41 is the atomic number for niobium.
  24. The Messier object M41 is magnitude 5.0 open cluster in the constellation Canis Major.
  25. The New General Catalogue object NGC 41 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pegasus.
  26. A 41-gun salute is used on special occasions in the United Kingdom.
  27. One molecule of Penicillin G had 41 atoms.
  28. The Roman numeral for 41 is XLI.
  29. George H. W. Bush was the 41st president.
  30. “The 41 for Freedom” was the nickname of the United States ballistic missile submarine fleet.
  31. Some 10mm caliber firearm cartridges are referred to as “.41.”
  32. C-41 process is the film developing process for 35mm color negative film.
  33. 41 is the number of the French department Loire-et-Cher.
  34. 41 is the number of members in the U.S. Senate needed to defeat a cloture vote and sustain a filibuster indefinitely.
  35. Pope Zosimus was the 41st pope.
  36. Montana was the 41st state to be admitted to the Union.
  37. 41 is the calling code assigned to Switzerland.
  38. 41 is the retired jersey number of Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo.
  39. 41 was the race number worn by Sir Roger Bannister when he broke the 4-minute mile barrier.
  40. 41 is the car number currently driven by NASCAR driver Kurt Busch.
  41. 41 in binary is 101001.

40 Fun Facts About the Number 40

In honor of my 40th birthday, here are 40 fun facts about the number 40:

  1. 40 is the natural number following 39 and preceding 41.
  2. 40 is an even number.
  3. 40 is a composite number.
  4. 40 is a semiperfect number.
  5. 40 is an octagonal number.
  6. 40 is a pentagonal pyramidal number.
  7. 40 is a Harshad number.
  8. 40 is a Størmer number.
  9. The 7 factors of 40 are 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 40.
  10. The square root of 40 is about 6.32456.
  11. -40 is the unique temperature at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales correspond.
  12. 40 is a repdigit in base 3 (1111).
  13. In horse racing, the maximum permitted number of runners in the grand national is 40.
  14. 40 years of marriage is the ruby wedding anniversary.
  15. 40 is the number of positions on a number of radio countdown programs, most notably American Top 40.
  16. In ancient Israel 40 lashes is one of the punishments meted out by the Sanhedrin, though in actual practice only 39 lashes were administered.
  17. “40” is a 1983 song by U2 from their album War.
  18. 40 is the atomic number for zirconium.
  19. The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression.
  20. The Messier object M40 is magnitude 9.0 double star in the constellation Ursa Major.
  21. The New General Catalogue object NGC 40 is a magnitude 12.4 planetary nebula in the constellation Cepheus.
  22. The Hebrew people lived in the Sinai desert for 40 years.
  23. In the Hebrew Bible, rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights during the Flood.
  24. 40 days was the period from the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus.
  25. In Islam, the mourning period officially lasts for 40 days.
  26. In modern Christian practice, Lent consists of the 40 days preceding Easter.
  27. Before his temptation, Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the Judean desert.
  28. The Roman numeral for 40 is XL.
  29. 40 is the number of spaces in a standard Monopoly game board.
  30. Ronald Regan was the 40th president.
  31. I-40 is the U.S. Interstate Highway from Barstow, California to Wilmington, North Carolina.
  32. 40 is the only integer whose English name has its letters in alphabetical order.
  33. Some Russians believe that ghosts of the dead linger at the site of their death for 40 days.
  34. 40 is the highest number ever counted to on Sesame Street.
  35. In tennis, the number 40 represents the third point gained in a game.
  36. Pope Innocent I was the 40th pope.
  37. South Dakota was the 40th state to be admitted to the Union.
  38. 40 is the calling code assigned to Romania.
  39. 40 is the retired jersey number of former Arizona Cardinals football player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
  40. 40 in binary is 101000.

39 Fun Facts About the Number 39

In honor of my 39th birthday, here are 39 fun facts about the number 39:

  1. 39 is the natural number following 38 and preceding 40.
  2. 39 is an odd number.
  3. 39 is a composite number.
  4. 39 is a deficient number.
  5. 39 is an evil number.
  6. 39 is a perfect totient number.
  7. 39 is a Perrin number.
  8. 39 is a Størmer number.
  9. The 4 factors of 39 are 1, 3, 13, and 39.
  10. The square root of 39 is about 6.44998.
  11. 39 is the twelfth distinct semiprime number.
  12. 39 is the sum of consecutive prime numbers.
  13. 39 is the sum of the first 3 powers of 3.
  14. 39 is the smallest natural number which has three partitions into three parts.
  15. The F26A graph is a symmetric graph with 39 edges.
  16. 39 is the number of mentions of work or labor in the Torah.
  17. “39” is a track on Queen’s album A Night At the Opera.
  18. 39 is the atomic number for yttrium.
  19. The Messier object M39 is a magnitude 5.5 open cluster in the constellation Cygnus.
  20. The New General Catalogue object NGC 39 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Andromeda.
  21. “39” is a song by The Cure on their album Bloodflowers.
  22. 39 is the number of statements on Anglican doctrine.
  23. 39 is the actual number of lashes given by the Sanhedrin to a person meted the punishment of 40 lashes.
  24. 39 is the number of categories of activity prohibited on Shabbat according Jewish religious law.
  25. There are 39 books in the Old Testament according to the Protestant Canon.
  26. Roman Emperor Titus Flavius was born in the year 39 A.D.
  27. The Roman numeral for 39 is XXXIX.
  28. There were 39 signers of the United States Constitution.
  29. James Earl Carter, Jr. was the 39th president.
  30. I-39 is the U.S. Interstate Highway from Normal, Illinois to Wausau, Wisconsin.
  31. 39 is Japanese Internet chat slang for “thank you” when written with numbers (3 is “san”, 9 is “kyu”).
  32. In Afghanistan, the number 39 is considered unlucky, due to the belief that it is associated with pimps.
  33. “The Thirty-Nine Steps” is the title of a John Buchan novel and several subsequent films.
  34. 39 is the number of the French department Jura.
  35. Pope Anastasius I was the 39th pope.
  36. North Dakota was the 39th state to be admitted to the Union.
  37. 39 is the calling code assigned to Italy.
  38. 39 is the retired jersey number of former baseball player Roy Campanella.
  39. 39 in binary is 100111.

38 Fun Facts About the Number 38

In honor of my 38th birthday, here are 38 fun facts about the number 38:

  1. 38 is the natural number following 37 and preceding 39.
  2. 38 is an even number.
  3. 38 is a composite number.
  4. 38 is a deficient number.
  5. 38 is an odious number.
  6. 38 is a square-free number.
  7. 38 is an Ulam number.
  8. The 4 factors of 38 are 1, 2, 19, and 38.
  9. The square root of 38 is 6.164414.
  10. 38 is the eleventh distinct semiprime number.
  11. 38 is the sum of the squares of the first three prime numbers.
  12. 38 is the sum of each row in a magic hexagon.
  13. 38 is the largest even number which cannot be written as the sum of two odd composite numbers.
  14. 38 is the largest known even number which can be represented as sum of two distinct primes in only one way.
  15. 37 and 38 are the first pair of consecutive positive integers not divisible by any of their digits.
  16. There is no answer to the equation φ(x) = 38.
  17. 38 is the atomic number for strontium.
  18. The Messier object M38 is a magnitude 7.0 open cluster in the constellation Auriga.
  19. The New General Catalogue object NGC 38 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces.
  20. The 38th parallel north is the pre-Korean War boundary between North and South Korea.
  21. In Norse mythology, the number 38 was said to represent unnatural bravery.
  22. In Egyptian mythology, the number 38 was characteristic of Anubis, the jackal-headed god of death and mummification.
  23. An American roulette wheel has 38 slots.
  24. In the television series Stargate-SG1, the gate can stay open a maximum of 38 minutes.
  25. St. Andrew the apostle died in the year 38 A.D.
  26. The Roman numeral for 38 (XXXVIII) is last in alphabetical order.
  27. It took the Israelites 38 years to travel from Kadesh Barnea to the Zered valley in Deuteronomy.
  28. Gerald R. Ford (who was president the year I was born) was the 38th president.
  29. The .38 Special is a rimmed, centerfire cartridge designed by Smith & Wesson.
  30. .38 Special is the name of a Southern rock band.
  31. 38 is the number of games that each team in the current English Premiership, the top division in English Association Football, plays in a season.
  32. The 38 class is the most famous class of steam locomotive used in New South Wales.
  33. 38 is the number of the French department Isère.
  34. Pope Siricius was the 38th pope.
  35. Colorado was the 38th state to be admitted to the Union.
  36. 38 was the calling code assigned to Yugoslavia.
  37. Major League pitcher Curt Schilling wore the number 38.
  38. 38 in binary is 100110.

When You Wish Upon a Death Star

After taking a few days to process the news that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm, I have finally formulated an opinion, which I will now share, because I know you all care. My official opinion is that I am withholding judgment. Many people are bemoaning this development as an occasion to break out the mourning clothes, but here are a few points that give me, shall we say, a new hope:

  1. To put it diplomatically, George Lucas and I do not share the same creative vision for the Star Wars franchise. (Han shot first.) If Disney and I have similar disagreements, well then I’m not really out anything.
  2. Several years ago, Disney acquired Marvel, and the world ended, and another good Marvel superhero movie was never made. Except that didn’t happen. We all got The Avengers, possibly the most awesome superhero movie of all time.
  3. It has become increasingly evident that my efforts to save my daughter from the clutches of the Disney princess-industrial complex are largely futile, but I am encouraged by the fact that one Disney princess now knows how to use a blaster.

So there you have it, the final word on this issue: We’ll see.

Wait, What?

Medieval illustration of a Christian scribe wr...
Image via Wikipedia

Further empirical proof writers do not think like normal people. The following are actual excerpts (more or less) from conversations among my writer friends. Yeah, I know.


“I used a wooden pencil in a story I wrote to stake a vampire.”

“Did it work?”


“Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on hobos.”


“I made the mistake of reading The Strain right before trying to go to sleep. When the ice maker made a noise in the kitchen, I freaked out. So I jumped up and grabbed the Samurai sword next to the bed.”


“Sometimes I think I’d like a monkey tail.”

“Like, in a jar?”

“No, on my body. Then I could pick up things with it.”

“Oh, ’cause I could get you one in a jar by 3 p.m.”

Vocabulary Fail (or Win?)

So, I was reading over part of my novel the other night, and I came across a word that I didn’t know. Yes, you read that right. I didn’t know a word in something I wrote. I had to look it up. The word was apotropaic, which means “intended to ward off evil,” from Greek apotropaios, from apotrepein, to ward off: apo-, away- + trepein, to turn.

The thing about it is that I don’t remember learning it the first time. It’s not a word you just know, like amulet or talisman or charm would have been, or even a word you might happen upon by chance, like perhaps phylactery. But I had to have learned it at some point, because I used it, and I used it correctly.

It’s a conundrum.

Important Halloween PSA – Vampires Are Evil!

Since last year’s public service announcement seems to have fallen on deaf ears, I fear I must repeat my warning. Perhaps I can convey the message better using a different format:


It’s Halloween in a nice suburban neighborhood. Little kids dressed up as ghosts, cowboys, witches, and the like are out with their parents trick-or-treating. Some groups of older kids are out, too, without parental supervision. CAITLIN and MADISON are both thirteen years old. Caitlin is dressed as Bella from the Twilight series. So is Madison. As they’re walking they see a group of devastatingly handsome boys without costumes. They are maybe a few years older than the girls are.


Wow, look at those boys! They are devastatingly handsome.


Yeah, they’re really cute.


They have pale skin and supernaturally clear complexions for their age. I bet they’re vampires! Let’s go introduce ourselves. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could fall in love with them to the point where we’re obsessed with them, and nothing else matters in our lives, not even our families?


I don’t know, Caitlin. They could be dangerous.


Oh, don’t be such a scaredy-cat. What’s the worst that could happen?


You could die.

Caitlin and Madison both look in the direction of the voice. It’s SCARLETT from G.I. Joe.





Your friend is right, Caitlin. They are dangerous.


How do you know my name?


I’m not really her friend.


(ignoring them)

You should never approach a vampire unarmed. He’ll just suck all your blood, and that’s no fun.


But they could be good vampires. You know, ones that don’t feed on people. Or they could at least be morally conflicted. And they’re devastatingly handsome. They’re probably also very charming in a self-loathing, brooding sort of way.


(shaking her head)

That’s only in books and movies. Real vampires are always evil. There are no exceptions.


You mean they don’t sparkle? And they won’t fall in love with me and stalk me in my sleep?


No, I’m afraid not. Real vampires are incapable of love. If they say they love you, it’s just so they can get close enough to suck all your blood.

Scarlett is attacked by two of the vampires. She pulls wooden stakes from somewhere on her skintight catsuit and easily dispatches both of them. She then hands the stakes to the girls.


Here, take these wooden stakes. It never hurts to be prepared.

Caitlin and Madison each take a stake.


Gee, thanks, Scarlett


Yeah, thanks. Now we know.


And knowing is half the battle.