Can You Count Down Faster Than the Clock?
Watch the Very Valuable Story of the Number Zero
How zero went from nothing to something.... READ ON
Why Are Social Security Cards So Flimsy?
A super-important piece of your identity is about as durable as toilet paper.... READ ON
Who Are the World's Ten Biggest Employers?
Hint: Three are American, and two of them you definitely know.... READ ON
The Largest Prime Number Ever Discovered Has Over 22 Million Digits
The person who discovered it broke his previous record by over five million digits.... READ ON
Remember the First 100 Digits of Pi Using This Basic Technique
A druid, Muammar Gaddafi, and a horseshoe are all players in this genius memory hack.... READ ON
The Uneven History of the Word Odd
Why "odd" isn't really so odd.... READ ON
How Many Trees Are on the Planet?
The answer is much higher than we previously suspected.... READ ON
What Do the Numbers on Your Credit Cards Mean?
Let's break it down.... READ ON
The Boxing Match That Lasted 7 Hours
The Days of Your Life (in Jelly Beans)
8 Towns that are Numbered
Kryptos: The CIA Cipher Hiding in Plain Sight
Kryptos photo via Wikimedia Commons Kryptos is an encrypted sculpture installed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It's a set of huge copper plates with enciphered text carved into them -- for example, one segment reads TWTQSJQSSEKZZWATJKLUDIAWINFBNYP, though it looks a lot nicer in context. Although the sculpture was installed in 1990, it took until 1999 for someone to actually decrypt part of the message: of the four segments of text, three were decrypted (complete with intentional... READ ON
The Social Security Number, A Biography: Part 3
The Social Security Office in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress. We’ve already talked about the birth of the Social Security Number, its form and function, and early assignments. Now, we’ll look at how the SSN went from simply being a way for the Social Security Administration to correctly determine people's Social Security entitlement and benefit levels to being an indispensable part of someone’s identity used for dealing with the government and private... READ ON
The Social Security Number, A Biography: Part 2
Social Security office in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress. Last time, we looked at the birth of the Social Security Number, why it was needed and how it was structured. Once the form and function of the number was settled, the Social Security Administration tackled the job of getting their creation assigned to people. Who got the first Social Security Number? Without their own field offices, the SSA relied on the Postal Service to be their boots on the ground. Forty-five... READ ON
The Social Security Number, A Biography: Part 1
Wikimedia Commons My grandfather on my mother’s side is named Joseph. His son is also named Joseph. Not Joseph Junior. Not Joseph II. Just Joseph. They’re both just Joseph [Last Name], which sometimes makes traveling with them a headache. Not long after 9/11, the lot of us went on vacation together and got held up in security whenever the TSA took issue with the fact that two different guys with the same name were booked for the same flight. This is the kind of issue that the Social Security... READ ON
brilliant questions from you!