Saturday, January 7, 2017

Still Life with Robin: 2017 is a Prime Number (and Other Factoids about the Year)

2017 Lunar Calendar
Fernando dr Gorocica (Creative Commons)
by Peggy Robin

It’s 2017 and the year is a prime number! If your birthday this year takes your age to a prime number, that’ supposed to be lucky for you. (See:

Speaking of lucky numbers brings to mind the opposite, unlucky number 13 – and that brings me to next Friday, the first Friday the 13th of the new year. This year has two of them --the second one’s in October-- which is nothing remarkable. The most there can be in a year is three, and some years have only one ( Fortunately, I’m not a paraskevidekatriaphobe, or, as some would style it, a Friggatriskaidekaphobe – but that’s mixing Old Norse and Greek (for more on that bit of nerdiness, go to:

Twenty-seventeen also has its fair share of palindrome dates. First, there’s a “full format” palindrome date, reading the same forwards and backwards, including the year shown in four digits -- July 10, 2017: 7-10-2017. It’s followed by nine more palindrome dates that work forwards and backwards with a two-digit year: 7-11-17 through 7-19-17. Then on the 7th of October there's one last "full format" palindrome date of the year - with the catch that it's in day-month-year order: 7-10-2017.(More on palindrome dates here:

And 2017 will bring us a number of historic anniversaries, including:

* The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, called the October Revolution, although in the West it was already November. And that’s a calendar conundrum you can sort out here:

* The 100th anniversary of the US entry into World War I – April 6, 1917.

*The 150th anniversary of the creation of the Dominion of Canada – July 1, 1867. If you’ve been considering a move to the Great White North, the 150th anniversary is a fine year to pick – especially after you review this graphic of Canada vs. US economic metrics:

* The 500th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenburg - October 31, 1517.

* And let’s not forget that it’s the 50th anniversary of Sweden’s remarkable H-Day, “short for Högertrafikomläggningen (‘the right-hand traffic diversion’). On that day millions of Swedes switched from driving on the left side of the road to driving on the right. It was the most massive overhaul in driving infrastructure that the world had ever seen.” – Quoted from “H Day,” an episode of the podcast 99 Percent Invisible by Roman Mars. If this sort of thing interests you, I urge you to listen to the full episode, available here, -- and mark your calendars so that you don’t forget to celebrate the anniversary of this amazing transformation of a nation from left to right that took place on September 3rd, 1967!

May this year bring you good luck, whether or not you are coming to a prime birthday!

Still Life with Robin is posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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