If you can memorize this number you can figure out what day of the week any date in 2008 falls on: 632641637527
. I'll explain how in a moment.
I've been thinking a lot about memory lately as a result of listening to the Radiolab show on Memory and Forgetting
last week. If you're even peripherally interested in science (and c'mon, everyone's at last slightly
interested), you absolutely must subscribe to their podcast
. The show is really well edited, with densely layered audio and great pacing. They're about an hour long, and usually I can't get into podcasts that long because I don't often have an uninterrupted hour to focus on them, but these are so engaging and accessible that I can jump in and out of listening to them on my way to and from work without missing anything. They make me look forward to a long subway ride, which is the ultimate compliment I could give any media.
Listen to that episode. In it they describe, among other things, that the memory-erasing technique from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is not a fiction, and is in fact in use today!
If you're in New York, you can come listen in to the debut Radiolab episode for this season. It will be playing tonight (Thursday, Feb 21st) at 7pm at the Angelika Theater in Soho. There's more information on the Radiolab site
. Looks like the show is going to be about laughter.
Ok, here's how you can use that number (632 641 637 527) to figure out any day of the week. Those numbers correspond to the first sunday of each month for 2008. For instance, January 6th is the first Sunday in January, and therefore the first digit in that number is 6. December 7th is the first Sunday in December, hence the last digit in that number is 7. Now, using that information and some simple math, you can figure out what day of the month any date falls on. For instance, let's calculate July 21st, 2008. July is the 7th month, so we want to know the 7th digit above. It's 6
. Now, 21-6 is 15, so July 21st is 2 weeks and 1 day after the first Sunday in July. That means it will fall on a Monday.
Another cool thing is you can use that number to figure out how many Friday the 13ths there will be in 2008. There's 1, in June, because June starts on a Sunday.
If you need help memorizing a 12-digit number, the peg system
is pretty effective. If you're serious about wanting to learn more about memory, the book "Your Memory
" by Kenneth Higbee is required reading. It's the only memory book I've ever read that actually improved the way I memorize. I wish I had had that book in college.
More about Radiolab: