99th Birthday Party


From: Lennart Lovstrand <lennart@vix.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 96 16:32:33 -0700
Subject: 99th Birthday Party!
cc: Dianna Miller <dmiller@vix.com>, Godfrey van der Linden <gvdl@next.com>

Hi there!

We're looking for an odd number of odd people to join us in our truly Odd Birthday Party. The ones looking are Lennart Lövstrand (33*), Dianna Miller (33*), and Godfrey van der Linden (33*), and together as the semi-sentient, coma-conscious being Len/di/god, we have reached the venerable age of 99.** Come and wish Len/di/god a happy:

99th Birthday on Saturday, April 27*** at 18:00

and onwards over at our ever gracious host Andrew's place on:

990 California Street in Mountain View

Arrive early and enjoy the setting sun's gentle rays on your face as you quaff your hand-crafted limited edition Pining for the Fjords Blue Parrot Spruce Ale from the already relatively famous Lennart's Lovsuds Brewery. We'll be firing up ye olde BBQ, so bring a slab o' meat or your favorite herbivorian substitute for some satisfyingly smoky carcinogens too. Bread and salad will be provided.

Just as there are three of us celebrating our birthday, there are three themes to this party. The first one is our combined age, 99 years. Ninety-nine years. That's almost a century. We're one year short of a century old. Think about that. Ninety-nine years ago was 1897. That's long before either World War I and II had erupted in Europe and before TV, radio, or even the telephone got commonplace. (Tho Bell had just invented the phone the year before.) It's also the year that Jell-O was introduced. I bet you didn't know that...

The second theme is the odd one. We're all at an odd age at an odd point in life, born on odd days (19th, 21st, and 27th) on an odd year (1963). Odd isn't it? If that wasn't enough, bring out your calculator and perform some applied numerology and you'll find that 1 + 9 = 10 with 1 + 0 = 1 (odd), 2 + 1 = 3 (odd), and 2 + 7 = 9 (odd). Furthermore, 1 + 9 + 6 + 3 = 19 (odd), and we've already seen that 1 + 9 = 10 with 1 + 0 = 1. Very odd.

Odd enough for you? No?

Then think about the fact that 1963 (out of a purely odd coincidence) also happens to be the year in which the Cambridge University scholars Walter Feit and John G. Thompson published their Odd Order Theorem**** (not to be confused with the Odd Number Theorem*****). In this astounding work, they clearly showed that every finite group of odd order is solvable--a veritable tour-de-force of mathematics which in turn inspired intense effort to classify finite simple groups. But I digress...

Finally, the third theme is for the, eh, somewhat more computationally entertained of us. Not only is this an odd party, but it also turns out to be remarkably "off-by-one". Consider that:

bulletThere are 3 of us, ie 22 - 1
bulletOur birth year, 63, is 26 - 1
bulletOur individual age, 33, is 25 + 1
bulletOur combined age, 99, is 102 - 1
bulletand, we're all single (21 - 1, ouch)

Anyway, with no further ado, I'd like to invite you all to join us in our festivities on April 27. Bring something 99ish / odd / off-by-one. Bonus points to those who combine all three themes in one.


* An odd number
** A very odd number
*** Lennart's birthday, and, out of an odd coincidence, also an odd number.
**** Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-45716-5.
***** The sum of the first n odd numbers is a perfect square:



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