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12-12-12: What does it add up to?

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POSTED December 11, 2012 1:11 a.m.

You’ll never find a 13th floor listed in an elevator. A seven will either pay everybody at the craps table or end the roll and fill the casino’s coffers.

But is there anything special about the number 12?

Depends who you ask.

With Wednesday marking the last in a 12-year sequence of dates that form a perfect trifecta – 12-12-12 – those who have their particular superstitions will undoubtedly push their luck with the belief that the stars are lined up just as the days are.

According to an article that ran in the Las Vegas Sun last year, when Nov. 11 approached it was only a select subset of businesses and industries that braced for the anticipated crowds – wedding chapels that geared up for couples planning for a special anniversary and casino buffets offering $11.11 meals.

The Orange County Registrar reported that in Anaheim on the same day 11 babies were born at a hospital that actually had the address 1111 W. La Palma Avenue. One was born at 11:11 a.m. He weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces.

But engineer and Manteca resident David Marks has no room for coincidences when it comes to mathematically tying numbers to the physical world.

“There is no connection between dates on a calendar and mathematical things that you see in the physical world,” he said. “You have to think back to the time of Caesar – those times were based on an 8-month calendar so it was a completely different layout.

“Anything that happens is merely coincidental. Numerology doesn’t come into play at all like it does with Pi or a formula. What you see on a calendar and what happens is completely arbitrary.”

That still likely won’t stop people from tying the knot.

According to David’s Bridal – the largest American chain of stores catering specifically to those walking down the aisle – more than 7,000 women will become wives on Wednesday.

Less than 500 tied the knot on the day last year.

“Many people consider it lucky to be alive during these years, and even more consider it lucky to fall in love and get married on one of these iconic dates,” said Christi Rabil of the Pennsylvania-based chain. She added that 43 percent of brides polled in stores have said they mulled scheduling their special day to coincide with an iconic date. “It’s no surprise that couples are planning their nuptials on this date as many feel that the consecutive dates bring luck to marriage – and, some just thing it is a great way to ensure their husbands will remember their anniversary.”

And if there was anyone that could find a link between a long happy life and a sequence of numbers, it would be Sierra High alum and current East Bay tech-firm staffer Shad Pierson.

During his time at UC Davis Pierson spent time working on his doctorate in mathematics, He enjoys finding unique patters in intricate and complex systems of numbers that would overwhelm – and stupefy – most people.

There are plenty of examples of mathematical equations and theories actively at work in the day-to-day world, he said – the Fibonacci sequence, symmetry – but dates on calendars typically don’t rank very high on that scale.

“There are a lot of cool patterns out there, but that’s not what I think of when I think of the number 12,” Pierson said. “I think of Base 12 numbers and systems and how 60 minutes is divisible by 12.

“It looks cool and it’s not something that happens very often, but it’s not mathematically significant.”

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