Tri-Centennial March Mathness Magazine

Happy March! Happy Third Month of the Gregorian Calendar!

And being it’s the third month, here’s a salute to the very fine and lovely number three

(Watch out below. Here comes the math)

Hurray for The Three!

The Triad!

The Triangle!

The Holy Trinity!

The Three Graces!

Hey, there’s something about the three. It seems that everybody loves the three. Three is the charm. OK. Let’s get spiritual:

The Two (the number two) splits unity (the One) and creates our world of opposites: life and death, present or absent, matter and energy, up and down, back and forth, figure/ground, yin and yang, not to mention Abbott and Costello (OK, I’ll try not to mention Abbott and Costello).

Connect two points and you have a line. Connect three points and you define a plane. It may sound plain (oops), but now we’re getting somewhere, because now we have a place to move around in. There can be interplay between three points, three vectors, or three forces, interacting in three dimensions. Things start to get beautiful.

The vesica picsis – the intersection of the two circles – generates the equilateral triangle. The three is created by the intersection of the two. Connecting the points of intersection: and voila, an equilateral triangle! We were introduced to the triangle in geometry class. Remember? Congruent triangles, similar triangles, isoscoles triangles, and right angle ones? The triangle is the cornerstone of trigonometry – and the main character in Euclid’s plane geometry – which has provided scientists and the rest of us with a template for logic – a system where you need to prove things before you think they’re true – a condition which is apparently hard to swallow for people who are too lazy to bother thinking. Once again, hurray for the triangle! Hurray for its strength of structure! Paste two of those sturdy equilateral triangles together and you get a hexagon. And then, if you happen to be a bee, well, you’ll have a place to store your honey. More about the hexagon in another post. Back to the three. And now we’re gonna get a bit nostalgic, nay sentimental.

We grow up listening to stories about the Three: The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs. Three wishes! As we grow we encounter the Three Musketeers, Three Coins in the Fountain, Three Days of the Condor, Three Dog Night, the Three Stooges, and the Tri-State area. In basketball there’s Phil Jackson’s triangle offense and the Triple Double (which sounds like an oxymoron, however). Baseball has the triple play (it’s a treat to see one, and I did see one live at Dodger Stadium). Baseball has three bases to touch or tag (the fourth is called Home). You get three strikes (and you’re out!). Hey, baseball season is fast upon us. It’s spring season already! It’s spring, the time of rebirth, the time to plant seeds, a time of renewal and new beginnings.

Here’s a song in 3/4 time. Three beats to a measure! Sing along! Admittedly, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry is one of Hank Williams’ saddest ones. But one his most beautiful ones too. And one plus two is three, so I’m out of here.

Moron March in another post. I mean more on March in another post. Anyhoo, Happy March and Three Cheers!



8 thoughts on “Tri-Centennial March Mathness Magazine

  1. And don’t forget in literature the Tricolon – one of the most effective rhetorical devices and most popular! Indeed, you’ve already hinted at its use perhaps without knowing it…

  2. According to Loudon Wainwright it is four that is the magic number!…6377.22103..23032…0.0..0.122.2919.31j4……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i131j0j0i70i249j0i10j0i13j0i22i30j33i160j33i22i29i30.SaJ8Reh2sCc&ved=0ahUKEwit4pzS8PnnAhWJ8eAKHd7oAjwQ4dUDCAc&uact=5
    However, I like three too. The Three Johns were good as well.

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