The Universe of Discourse
Tue, 06 Feb 2007

A while back I recounted the joke about the plover's egg: A teenage girl, upon hearing that the human testicle is the size of a plover's egg, remarks "Oh, so that's how big a plover's egg is." I believe this was considered risqué in 1974, when it was current. But today I was reminded of it in a rather different context.

The Wikipedia article about the number e mentions a very silly mnemonic for remembing the digits of e: "2.7-Andrew Jackson-Andrew Jackson-Isosceles Right Triangle". Apparently, Andrew Jackson was elected President in 1828. When I saw this, my immediate thought was "that's great; from now on I'll always remember when Andrew Jackson was elected President."

In high school, I had a math teacher who pointed out that a mnemonic for the numerical value of √3 was to recall that George Washington was born in the year 1732. And indeed, since that day I have never forgotten that Washington was born in 1732.

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