Friday, March 12, 2010

Top 10 #1: Top 10 Best Numbers Between 1 and 10

And so we come to the end of a particularly daft enterprise. But better to reach an ending than to abandon a program unfinished, right?

Hm. Either way, I've now finally reached the most profound and meaningful of my Top 10 Top 10 Lists That Don't Really Deserve To Be Top 10 Lists:

The Top 10 Best Numbers Between 1 and 10!

10. 9
9. 5
8. 1.01
7. 3
6. e
5. π
4. 6
3. δ
2. 2
1. φ

Why these numbers, you ask? Hypothetical reader, I am glad that you ask (or in fact, that you allow me rhetorically to ask you).

It's the biggest numeral we have: after 9, all we have left is 0 again. Also, it creates a hypnotically symmetrical square, which is kind of neat, don't you think?:
Symbolism, magic, political power: that's 5. It crops up surprisingly often, if you look for it.

This should be an obvious choice, shouldn't it? It's 1, but it's a bit more than 1. It's a symbol of improvement, of education, of progress. Doesn't it make you feel better, just looking at it?

The smallest number that's big enough to be genuinely numberish. 3 things are enough things to create a whole bunch of problems that literally can't be solved. 3 contains enough complexity to generate a universe.

It's a bit more than 2. It's all natural. It's a pleasantly fractal concept to base your logarithms on, if you need some logarithms. And hey, who doesn't need logarithms? Who doesn't like logs? Who doesn't like rhythms? Answer: nobody! (FACT.)


For making us happier, and in particular for giving us the best opportunity to giggle at New Zealand accents.

By which I'm talking about the Feigenbaum constant, 4.669201609etc. This number emerges at the heart of complex systems like the weather, or the economy, or pretty much every system of interacting relationships in our world. This constant is our sublime proof that chaos theory is not chaotic. So, you know; it's kind of important, and it's kind of neat.

The loneliest number, next to number 1. (So, it's not so lonely.) This can still be problematic, but it's also pretty nice.

By which I'm talking about the number of the Golden Ratio, 1.6180339887etc. (And yeah, the Silver Ratio probably also deserves some respect, but that's another story.) This number is the ratio of ratios: it's everywhere, even when it's not, and it's the reason that most nice architecture and design looks so nice. For services to aesthetics, recognised & unrecognised: thanks, φ.

--the listless thoapsl

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