Here’s to the twelve and to duogesimal/duodecimal/dozenal reckonings. We’ve been marching through the numbers here on Bumbastories. (Well, we cover the numerals at least, since the vast infinity of our real and unreal, positive and negative, imaginary and transcendant numbers are all expressed with just the nine numerals. Ain’t that something?
Admittedly, we ought to first cover the ten and the zero. Be patient! The ten and the zero are complicated affairs. Today we’re going to talk about the twelve, because, well, twelve is a special number. And, most significantly, our friend Marina Kanavaki is also creating some posts about the numbers and we kinda promised her a post on the twelve. But not to worry, we promise not to go any further than twelve. After all thirteen is bad luck. And why is that, huh?
It’s 12/12/2015 here in LA, almost midnight. And 12 is the last month, the end of the year. Yikes! Better hurry, Bumba, it’s the eleventh hour! No, the twelfth!
The Sumerians, with their sexagonal number system, bequeathed us the twelve some five thousand years ago. Like many other cultures, they divided the astronomical year into 12 sections, the zodiac. They divided the circle of the sky into 360 degrees, that’s 30 twelves. We still count time in multiples of 12 and 60. Interesting how people still prefer to look at the face of a clock instead of a ten-based digital display. By the way, do you know what time it is when your clock strikes thirteen? That’s right! Time to get it fixed.
12 has the factors 3 and 4, 2 and 6. It’s easy to use. There are 12 inches in a foot. I can testify as someone who left the US and got used to using the metric system, that I very quickly reverted to using inches to measure things when I returned to the US. I can also testify to always liking the 12, (OK, I’m strange) and especially the number 24. There are twelve months, twelve signs of the zodiac, Twelve knights of the Round Table, Twelve days of Christmas, twelve members of a jury, and Twelve Monkeys, which was quite a good movie by the way.
At the movies, It’s Cheaper by the Dozen, also the Dirty Dozen. I’d continue with these duogesimal/dozen reckonings, but I don’t want to get gross.