Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday, Yay! The 13th, not so Yay.

I did some guest-blogging over at Mixed Cookies. Check out the link over to the right of the page. It's a music blog, and I go in-depth about the mix I made for the trip to Anchorage. Delightful stuff, really. I don't know about that picture that leads the thing off, though.

Next, I've dug into the archives to bring back a post from a Friday the 13th past. Enjoy.

Have you practiced your skills against the dark arts lately?

I was sitting at my desk this morning, doing my usual drone-like labor, when I realized it was Friday the 13th (F13 from here on out). I don't recall ever having anything bad happen to me on F13, but if there is a year for this to happen, it's this year. However, my boss did just give us the okay to leave an hour-and-a-half early, so the day has actually started quite nicely. My brother has always proclaimed he encounters bad luck on Monday the 20th, but that just seems foolish.

So many people have a fear of F13 that it is a named phobia: these individuals are referred to as paraskevidekatriaphobics. Not all cultures find the number 13 to be unlucky; the Chinese and ancient Egyptians considered it to bode good fortune. Still, it is estimated that 8% of the population has a fear of F13.

Several theories exist about why 13 is considered unlucky (triskaidekaphobes are those who fear the number):

It is the average number of menstrual cycles most females have in a year; male dominated society had an odd distaste for all things feminine.

In Norse myth, 12 gods were invited to a banquet. Loki wasn't invited and then proceeded to whup some ass in retributition. (Actually, Loki wasn't much of an ass-whupper. He talked the others into beating the shit out of each other.)

Judas was the 13th guest at the last supper.

I began thinking about the whole 13 thing, and came up with a theory that part of the myth may have to do with the fact that 13 is a prime number--rare and therefore meant to be feared. I couldn't find any reference to folks who have a fear of prime numbers, but did encounter some other interesting numerical oddities and other random facts:

The sum of primes up to and including 13 is equal to the 13th prime.

Thirteen is the smallest absolute prime; that is, if you have multiple digits and move them around, you still have a prime number (31).

The sum of the remainders when 13 is divided by all the primes up to 13, equals 13.

There is no elliptic curve over the rationals Q having a rational point of order 13. (I have no idea what this means.)

The number of the beast first appears in the 13th chapter of Revelations.

The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.

Maybe these tidbits aren't so enlightening for the discussion at hand, but interesting nonetheless. Now for the examination of our fear of Friday:

The crucifixion supposedly took place on a Friday, and Adam supposedly tempted Eve with an apple on Friday.

Friday was execution day in some societies, but was the Sabbath in others.

As far as the whole fear of femininity thing, Friday is named after Freya, Norse goddess of fertility.

As for why the combination of the two is extremely unlucky, there is debate. Obviously, if you take one unlucky concept and combine it with another unlucky concept, you get a very unlucky concept.

Some folks attribute the date to the decimation of the Knights Templar (brought into common knowledge by Dan Brown; grrrrrr), which occurred on October 13, 1307, which was a Friday. However, many point out that this is a pretty obscure event to lead to such a widespread superstition.

Some folks believe that Cain killed Abel on F13. However, this just seems dumb because we didn't have the standard calendar then, and why would we attribute a date named for a Norse goddess to a Biblical event?

So the truth is that we really don't know. Enjoy your day, and I will try to send some good vibes your way.

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