Numbers Please

Hello, my name is C. Nathanial Townhouse, but in light of the fact that I love numbers, my friends call me Count. When I was a child, I always liked counting things, like how many steps it took me to get from my house to our mail box. I would count the number of lima beans on my dinner plate and try to figure out how many spoonfuls I would have to eat in order to get rid of the nasty things.

Scruffy is too nice to ever reveal anything, but I get the feeling my facination with numbers gets on his nerves and those of our pals. They might just as well face the fact that numbers are the most important part of my life. The reason is that they are always reliable; they never lie and they can reveal information that words cannot.

Numbers Rule

No matter what our interests or what kind of life we lead, we can never escape from numbers. Take me, for instance. You are probably thinking, "of course numbers are a big part of his life, because math is his profession". But even my dog uses math. He injured his right rear leg and has learned to walk on the other three. My uncle says my dog is also a mathematician because he "puts down three and carries one"! We simply cannot ignore the fact that our daily lives are governed by numbers. The alarm clock awakens us at the time we specify (based on numbers); we eat breakfast foods with the proper nutritional values for our body (based on numbers); our automobiles respond to the number of miles per hour we drive, according to the number of gallons of gas in the tank. We work a certain number of hours a day and earn a certain amount of money, based on numbers! We can't escape from it - numbers are everywhere!

Golf is Numbers!

One of our favorite pastimes, golf, totally consists of numbers. We use them on our balls, clubs, carts, tee boxes, flags, yardages, pars, scores, and handicaps. We even use them as a warning of danger - fore! And without the number nine, golf would not be golf. The number of holes on a regulation golf course is divided in half - nine on the front and nine on the back - for a total of eighteen. And eighteen is the only number that is twice the sum of its digits. (1+1=2; 8+8=16; 2+16=18). Par on most courses is 36 for 9 holes (3+6=9) and 72 for 18 holes (7+2=9). And the course is measured in yards - 3 feet in a yard, 3 yards = 9. Without the number nine, how would golf even exist?

Playing the Perfect Hole!

Have you ever played a perfect golf hole? You're probably remembering a time when you played a 525 yard, par 5 hole, dogleg left with a stream down the left side and woods on the right, and a two tiered green guarded on all sides by bunkers. You sliced your tee shot into the woods, which struck a tree trunk and ricocheted forward to the right side of the fairway, only 200 yards from the green. You hooked a 6 iron into the left bunker and holed out from the sand trap, for an eagle. I'll admit, it probably did look perfect on your scorecard. But you have played a perfect hole many times, without even knowing it. A hole that measures 496 yards is a perfect hole, because 496 is a perfect number. And what is a perfect number? It is a number that is equal to the sum of its parts. ( 0+1+2+4+8+16+31+62+124+248=496 ) All perfect numbers are even and end in 6 and 8 alternately. 6, 28 and 8128 are also perfect numbers that were first studied by Pythagoras of Samos 569 BC - 475 BC, for their mystical properties more than for their number theoretic properties. Ole' Pythagoras is considered to be the first pure mathematician and he is my hero!

How Fast Can You Play?

Here is another interesting calculation for you to keep in mind when you are playing your next round of golf. A dragonfly can travel 30 miles per hour or 44 feet per second, which is 2,640 feet per minute... trust me! Let's say you are lucky enough to play Augusta National, which was 7,290 yards in length (21,870 feet) in 2005. That dragonfly can cover the length of the course in 8.284 would probably take you 270 minutes, or 4.5 hours. (It takes me about 7 hours when I play with Scruffy and the Pals- they spend a lot of time standing around with their arms crossed over the shaft of their club and looking up at the sky.) So that ole' dragonfly can play the course 32.6 times faster than you or I, assuming there is no wind and he doesn't lose any balls!

Time for a Little $Numbers Wager?

Want to make a little wager before your next round with your unsuspecting golf buddies? Tell them you want to play for $1.00 and double the bet per hole with carryovers. Make sure you all have your ATM pin numbers memorized, because with carryovers, the 18th hole could be worth $589,824.00 !!!

Homework Can Be Fun

If you like to play with numbers, this conversions site will convert just about anything to anything else you can think of, such as how to translate something you write into Pig Latin or how to change your age into dog years. The Egyptians were the first civilization to practice scientific arts, excelling in medicine and applied mathematics. They had a decimal system using seven different symbols. How would you write your golf score of 85 in Hieroglyphics?

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I've recently come across some disturbing information concerning a math deficit in our country that should be of interest to all parents. Please click here to read about it and find suggestions for making the study of math fun for everyone.

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