Numbers, unlike letters of an alphabet, represent a fixed quantity and recalling a number for what it symbolizes is actually more powerful. And more dramatic. Here are 8 of them.
Nope, not 12—a baker’s dozen is 13. There’s a rich piece of history (albeit conflicting) as to why bakers give you an extra piece of bread when you order a dozen and the most plausible theory comes from the ancient times where, if a baker was caught short changing a customer with “light bread” he would be severely punished by having his ear nailed to the shop entrance.
Today we would just like to think that a baker’s dozen is just a more generous way for artisans to express their love and generosity for customers.
The number 42 is “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything” at least according to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The number “42” has become a staple inside joke in many sci-fi humor circles.
42 is 101010 in binary code. It is also at 42 degrees (almost half a right angle) that light refracts from water. But according to Adams, it was a huge joke: 42 was the random number he typed into the keyboard while writing “The Guide.”
Fans of Wong Kar Wai will know that 2046, apart from being the title of his dystopian 2004 film is also the room number that Chow Mo-wan rented in the In the Mood for Love (2000), a love story set in 1962 Hong Kong. Because Wong Kar Wai’s films are all intertwined in the same universe, there is a lot of correlation between these two movies together with its informal sequel, Days of Being Wild, which was released in 1991. The three movies form a trilogy that spans more than 15 years in the making and if you haven’t seen it, you’re definitely missing out.
221B Baker Street in London is the listed address of the residence of Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes and his chronicler-companion Dr. Watson. What fans may not realize is that even if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings were non-fiction, the address of 221 B Baker Street does exist today (but not during Sir Arthur’s era as in those days, street addresses did not go beyond 100). In modern day UK, 221B is the location of the Holmes Museum and in the ‘90s a person was assigned to receive and reply to mail addressed to The Great Detective himself.
This is the number of multiple Earths that exist in the DC Comics Multiverse. In 2011, DC Comics wiped out all pre-existing fiction from their past comic books and started anew with 52 new titles, also signifying 52 new Earths due to the events of Inifinite Crisis.
From a writer’s standpoint, having 52 fresh versions of Batman is definitely a welcome creative decision to update costumes and superheroes to modern times.
The letter “V” also stands for the Roman numeral “5” referring to the inmate of cell number 5, better known in pop culture as V for Vendetta, an anarchist vigilante of superhuman strength and agility that dons a Guy Fawkes mask. In the comics, inmate five was subject to torture and scientific augmentation, which is the source of his superhuman abilities.
“It’s over 9,000” is one of the longest running memes on the Internet and makes reference to a particular episode of Dragon Ball Z where Vegeta and Nappa are shocked at Goku’s sudden boost of attack power after he trained in the Other World.
OK we’re blowing our own horn here. Forgive us! But readers have often asked why we named this site 8List and we tell them that “10 is too many and 5 is too few for lists.” Sideways, 8 also represents the Greek symbol of infinity. While in Chinese culture, it is considered to be a lucky number.
What other numbers can you think of? Let’s talk about it on Twitter! Use #PopCultureNumbers and tweet us @8ListPH