EDitorial ± 3-Jan-2012


Waking up on the first work day of the New Year -- yay -- I did what anybody else would do. Picking up my phone, which doubles as the alarm, I shovelled some smartcoal into the sluggish internet browser and hit Google. For I was anxious to discover the prime factors of 2012. Expecting a string of 2s, 3s, 7s and 9s, that tiny glass screen said:

2,012 = 2 x 2 x 503

How very queer. Yes, that first "2", and yes, that second "2", but can we really do no better than a chunking great "503"? Odd. Literally so. Then I glanced across at my bedside radio clock only to see it reading 07:29. What, you think it was going to say 05:03? I'm no Dan Brown.

As Middler observed when the revellers in our front room were wishing each other a Happy New Year, we're all going to die in 2012. Maya, may not. Is it any wonder that you sometimes hit a web page saying "Error 503, service unavailable"? As one of the darling children may observe while seated at the dinner table, "your Mum's unavailable".

Also, "503" happens to be the name of a delightful orchestral track by Hans Zimmer. Disturbingly, this piece appears on the soundtrack of, er, Angels & Demons. Yep, a film about the Illuminati (them again) featuring the Hanks character from both The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol. Get my drift?

Of course, if you go looking for this stuff, you will indeed find this stuff (warning, couple of big words coming up). This 503 malarkey is a choice example of apophenia, "seeing meaningful patterns in random data". One particular type of apophenia is grandly known as pareidolia. Now we're into the whacked-out world of Rorschach inkblots (who watches the Watchmen?) and the Nun Bun. Another session, we'll discuss the significance of 2012 being MMXII.

You will see the number 503 sometime today.