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Number 8: Eight planets in our solar system?

In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky because the Cantonese word for 8 sounds similar to the word for 'prosper' or 'wealth'. Similarly, the number 88 looks like the popular characters written for “double joy”.

Some of my favourite facts showing how lucky 8 is considered in Chinese culture include: ​ The Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing, began at 8:08:08pm on 08/08/08. In 2003, Sichuan Airlines paid CN¥2.33 million (around half a million dollars) for the phone number +86 28 8888 8888. The Star Casino in Sydney offers a free bus service for its members across Sydney. The route that goes through Sydney’s Chinatown and Haymarket is route 88. (Though I’ve always wondered how lucky you really are if going to a casino… by bus?) In a later edition of number I’ll explain the unluckiest number in Chinese culture (hint: Check out the buttons in the lift in many Australian casinos). But for now, you’re the lucky ones. To celebrate lucky number 8, I’m having a special OCTO-sale on my books (a completely made-up word, but hey you'll get 50% off til Wednesday 31/8/22). Simply use the code OCTO at check-out.

Some of YOUR fave numbers and piano words!​​

Thanks to those of you who shared your favourite numbers and words made from the letters representing the 7 notes in the chromatic musical scale - A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Here are some of my fave answers. Please look out for a signed maths book coming your way soon! "My best attempt is 'cabbaged' which means very drunk. Here it is in a piano sentence: 'A cabbaged cad defaced a façade'." - Michael Will "My lucky number is 33. That was my football jumper number given to me at East Perth in 1970 colts team and I have stuck with it for the last 50 plus years." - Peter Radford "The longest piano number I can think of is CABBAGE. Seems topical that KFC is putting it in their burgers now to save on the price of lettuce." - Daniel Sherwood "6 is definitely my favourite number. It is the first perfect number. All its factors add to 6. They also multiply to get 6. It's the atomic number of carbon. Of which we are all made. Carbon itself has six fine letters. My acoustic guitar has six strings. Hexagons are the most best shape, For making honey or fighting monsters. (Old school paper DND reference there.)" - Tama Cooper

Enjoy these fascinating numerical facts about 8!


Atomic tonic Eight is the atomic number of oxygen, meaning an atom of oxygen has 8 electrons. It is typically depicted with 2 electrons in an inner shell and 6 in an outer shell. Now, the outer shell can contain up to 8 electrons. When these two spare spaces are filled by the single electron from two hydrogen atoms, we get the famous chemical formula for a molecule of water - H2O.

Wood would​ If you had a pile of wood that was 8 foot long, 4 foot high and 4 foot deep, how much wood would you have? Yes, you would have 'a fair bit of wood', maybe even 'a lot of wood'. But officially you would have 'a cord of wood'. It is often used to describe amounts of firewood and pulpwood in the US and Canada.

Stately sub-division​ There are 8 Australian states and territories ranging in size from the ACT at 2,358 km² all the way up Western Australia which at 2,645,615 km² is the second largest subdivision of any country in the world behind only Russia’s Sakha republic. My greatest regret when it comes to Australia is that in 1837 we chose the name Melbourne for the capital of Victoria and didn’t stick with Batmania!!

INSPIRATIONAL THINKERS & DOERS - Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astronomer and science broadcaster

Did you know there are 8 planets in our solar system? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. But what about Pluto you might ask? In 2006 the International Astronomical Union relegated Pluto – discovered as recently as 1930 by American Clyde Tombaugh – from the status of planet to ‘dwarf planet’, describing it as a ‘new class of trans-Neptunian objects’. The decision was not without controversy. One of the staunchest demoters of Pluto was American astronomer and famous science broadcaster, Neil deGrasse Tyson. He pointed out that the moon is 5 times bigger than Pluto, and that instead of sitting within the solar system, icy Pluto lies in the outer solar system (known as the Kuiper Belt). In 2015 I was lucky enough to appear on ABC TV’s Q&A with the good doctor – who even has an asteroid named after him ‘13123 Tyson’. (Super cool fact: he was born in New York City the same week NASA was founded!) We discussed everything from finding life in the cosmos to the booing of Adam Goodes - watch below. In fact, at the 53-minute mark we even had a bit of a stoush about artificial intelligence. Don’t worry, in the green room later, we hugged it out. Yours in numbers, Adam

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