Friday, 27 October 2017

Day 8: Eight is Great!
This is the eighth day of my writing spree and frankly, I've got nothing to say. So,  I thought I'd talk about the number 8!

Eight fun facts for you:

1) Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture because it has a pronunciation similar to that of the term for making a fortune.  The first time I heard about this was from my best friend in high school whose parents had been born in China.   Her phone number had a lot of 8's in it and she was telling me how lucky her parents thought that was.  She also told me about the number four being dreaded.  It sounds like the word for death.  In the same way that many buildings don't have thirteenth floors, in China and other cities with a large Chinese population, like my hometown Toronto, there are some condos that skip all the floors that have a number four in them... and apparently eighth floor apartments sell at a premium too.

Only related by a thread, but this reminds me of an incident with hurtful homophones that happened when I was teaching French class to the grade twos and threes.  One of the students (my son) was named Sean.  I was teaching them the name of various articles of clothing and the word for sweater is "chandail". In New Brunswick French, "chandail" is often used for any shirt that's not a tee.  For example, the golf shirts the kids wore as part of the uniform. We must have used the word "chandail" a hundred times.  At one point one of the kids gasped: "Are you telling SEAN to DIE?" Sean got so upset with ME for saying "chandail" and half the kids would toss him a wide-eyed sympathy glance every time the word was used. Oh, brother.  Suffice to say, I see now how uncomfortable you  could be with a totally innocuous word if it reminds you of something like death.  So, no more talk of "chandails" for Sean, no fourth floor for those who think it sounds like death floor.

2) In the Bible, the number eight represents resurrection and new beginning.

3) Jesus rose on the eighth day after His entry into Jerusalem.

4) The Bible accounts for Jesus appearing eight times after the resurrection; there are eight beatitudes.

5) Jesus, as was Jewish tradition, would have been circumcised at eight days of age.

6) The Lord's day is considered the eighth day, which is why most baptismal fonts -- if they're not round -- are octagonal.

7) Eight is a cubic number (2x2x2=8) and a Fibonacci number. It's the only cubic number in the Fibonacci sequence other than the number one.  It's also the first non-prime number in the Fibonacci sequence (again, other than one which is considered to be not a prime, but is not considered a compound number either; actually zero isn't a prime number either as all prime numbers must be whole numbers and zero is not part of the set of whole numbers, which start at one).  The Fibonacci sequence is: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21.36...  you get the next number by adding the previous two numbers. The Fibonacci sequence, along with the similar Lucas sequence) actually appears over and over again in nature wherever you see spirals and whorls, such as the curvature of a snail shell or the branching pattern of plants, or the budding pattern of petals and leaves.  So amazing!

8)  In nature, many creatures have sets of eight parts:
- All arachnids have eight legs.
- Cctopuses and some other cepaholopods (which means legs n' brains) have eight arms
- When Ascomycete fungi sporulate, the ascus (which is basically a narrow sack of a stack of spores) contains eight ascospores.  By popping those asci (plural or ascus) open, geneticists would carefully separate the spores, keeping them in the order in which they formed and by looking at which traits appeared in which spores, they were able to learn a lot about fungal genetics and even the relative positioning of genes on the chromosomes for various traits. So fun!
- Adult humans have eight teeth in four quadrants (think upper and lower, left and right sides), of which the eighth tooth in each quadrant is the wisdom tooth
- We have eight cervical nerves on each side of our brain. So do most mammals.

Well, there you go. Eight is great! And I suddenly miss being a mycologist.


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