Washington’s birthday, squared

On this 11-11, our state turns 121

By Howard Buck, Columbian staff writer



Washington State — Number Connections

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For much more on calendar palindomes: http://upbeacon.net/opinion/views-from-the-bluff/palindrome-dates-in-2011-1.1734957

State dates:

As it happens, Washington’s birthday falls on Veterans Day, which was established later. You also might know Oregon’s birthday is Feb. 14, or Valentine’s Day (1859).

Some other noteable statehood dates:

• Delaware, Dec. 7, 1787.

• Nevada, Oct. 31, 1864.

• Alaska, Jan. 3, 1959.

• Hawaii, Aug. 21, 1959.

Today, on the 11th day of the 11th month, Washington state turns 121 years old.

Pretty sweet math at work, there — if you remember your times tables.

We don’t know exactly what it portends. But we thought we’d toss it to a fellow who takes great joy deconstructing the beautiful symmetry and serendipity of numbers.

That would be Aziz Inan, professor of electrical engineering at University of Portland.

He’s the guy behind some meaty interpretations. Try his take on abundant 21st century palindrome dates (where the eight digits for month, day and year read identically, forward and backward), as reported in The Columbian on Jan. 2 — er, 01-02-2010: http://columbian.com/news/2010/jan/02/palindrome-day-patterns-of-the-calendar-make-for.

Or, this recent piece published in the Seattle Times, breaking down the 55th birthday of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, born in, yes, 1955: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013243127_gatesbirthday25.html.

An Oregonian, Inan wasn’t aware of the Evergreen State’s big day. But he jumped at the chance to start calculating.

“That’s going to be a special day next year,” he said quickly. Indeed: 11-11-11, in shorthand.

His quick observations:

• 212 years from today, on November 11, 2222 (11-11-2222), Washington will mark its 333rd birthday;

• Washington’s 11th birthday came in the year 1900; its 111th birthday in 2000; and its 1111th birthday is due in 3000.

And, this not-so-quick take:

• Washington was declared the 42nd state. Split 1889 in the middle into two numbers, 18 and 89, then reverse number 89 to obtain 98, 18 x 98 = 1764 = 42 x 42.

To see much more on today's birthday, check out the document attached here, in the left margin.

Inan sort of apologized for not finding more, but not for his fun.

“Somebody may look at this and say, ‘What is this? This is a waste of time,’ ” he said. “This is all recreational.”

Special delivery

Also, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed this week circulated a nice slice of history.

Reed posted on his blog a copy of the telegram (the original resides in the Olympia archives) sent to the new state’s governor, Elisha P. Ferry, announcing that President Benjamin Harrison had signed the statehood proclamation.

Worth noting: The telegram came C.O.D. -- meaning the Western Union messenger had to collect 61 cents from the Clerk of the Territorial Legislature before he could hand it over.

Good thing he had the cash, noted the folks in Reed’s office.