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Old 12-06-2018, 03:37 PM
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Default Witty, Self-Reflexive Thread About Nominations for Talking Time's Top 50 Numbers list


All right everyone, it’s time to nominate your choices for Talking Time’s Top 50 Numbers! I am starting nominations early (and with Octo’s permission) because I need extra time on this one. The reasons will be obvious below.


There is one big change this time around, so I’ll say it clear and up front:

THERE ARE GOING TO BE TWO ROUNDS OF VOTING ON THIS LIST.


That’s fair, and it’s natural to have a strong reaction to deviation from tradition. However, no list so far has had as many options (literally an infinite amount) as this one, and we’re going to have to narrow the playing field a little bit so that we can make sure the majority of the list isn’t just a 26-way tie between everyone’s #1. Here’s how it will work:


First Round

Our first round of voting will be the same as usual. Pick your top 25 numbers, and rank them 1 - 25.
Optional - If you’d like to provide a one-sentence-or-less reason why you’ve picked any (or all) of your numbers, include that too.

Your first place pick will get 35 points, your second 34, and so on down to 25th place, which will receive 11 points. So for example, your list may look like:

25 - 4
24 - 3.39554
23 - 336 - Number of dimples on my favorite golf ball
22 - 58008 - Spells “Boobs” on a calculator
21 - 17
20 - -273.15
Etc.

PM me your list. The first round of voting will close Friday, 12/21 at 11:59pm Mountain Time.

I will compile these results and release a list all at once (without scores or rankings) of the top X vote getters, where X is a large number that makes sense given the size of the overall pool (I expect it to be well over 250). Our second round of voting will begin when I post this list and last approximately one week (specifics upon posting).


Second Round
For the second round of voting, do exactly the same thing as you did the first round and pick your top 25. The difference is that now you’ll know the top X numbers from the first round. That way if you see a bunch of your choices have no chance and want to change any of your votes, you have that option. This also helps us trim down the pool from infinite options to numbers that more than one person cares about.

If you don’t send me a revised list, then I will simply use your first list a second time. If you do send me a revised list, that list will replace your first list. So to be clear:

If you don’t want to vote a second time, you absolutely don’t have to, I’ll just use your first results again.


Please no lobbying on the first round of voting. There are, however, no restrictions on lobbying during the second round.

Is all that ok?



Thank you for your flexibility.


I can tell this conversation has touched us both deeply.

Definition of a Number
The only other thing left to do is define a number! Generally speaking a number is a constant representing a particular quantity. For the purposes of this list, I will accept the nomination of any:
  • Integers
  • Rational numbers
  • Irrational numbers
  • Real numbers
  • Imaginary numbers (by the mathematical definition “a number that is expressed in terms of the square root of a negative number,” not “Squorbulutz, the number between 17 and 17.1 that makes you see purple.”)

and for all you set theory fans, I will also allow:
  • Infinite Cardinal numbers
  • Ordinal numbers that extend past the natural numbers.
If you don’t know what some or all of the above means, that’s ok! Just pick things you know are numbers and you’ll probably do fine.

Numbers Nominations FAQ:

Q:



A: I prefer to think of it as an absurd topic (and one that would be interesting because not everyone will have the same experience to pick their Top Numbers). If you don’t like it, please feel free not to vote, I promise I’ll make it go by quickly!

===============
Q: Couldn’t I just rank 1 as 1, 2 as 2, and so on down to 25?
A: You absolutely can and I won’t stop you, but that might make for a boring list. Or, to meme it:



===============
Q: What if can’t think of any numbers that are important to me?
A: If you brainstorm for a few minutes, there are probably a lot of significant and insignificant numbers in your life. How many people are in your extended family? What’s your favorite statistic? How many hours old are you? How many holes in that drop-tile ceiling? What’s your best speedrun time in seconds? How many people have you slept with? What’s the temperature you like to keep your home? How much have you paid in interest on student loans? Have fun with it. Come up with some weird ones!

Note: Probably don’t give me your Social Security Number.

===============
Q: Can I vote for infinity?
A: Yes, but you’re going need to be more specific than that. You cannot vote for an 8 on its side. That is a symbol for a concept and not a number in its own right. Because Infinite Cardinal and Ordinal numbers are allowed, though, you can vote for specific infinities (See the question on Cardinal and Ordinal numbers below). A vote simply for “infinity” will be ignored.

===============
Q: Can I vote for infinity+1? Infinity+2? INFINITY+INFINITY?!?!?!?
A: If you’re asking these questions, you should really read the question on Cardinal and Ordinal numbers, because it’ll show you how you can do those things!

===============
Q: Can I vote for Zero?
A: Yes. Zero is a number.

===============
Q: Can I vote for negative 1?
A: Absolutely (no pun intended). Negative numbers are numbers. Just make sure you clearly indicate you’re voting for a negative number by writing “Negative 27.3” or “-27.3” in your submission.

===============
Q:

A: Not directly. You CAN vote for an accepted constant with a single value represented by a letter. For example:

“e” as Euler’s number, an irrational number roughly equal to 2.71828.
“h” as Planck’s constant.
phi, that famous golden ratio.

If you’d like to do this, please label the constant you’re voting for in the optional “Why” section of that vote. Votes for the value and symbol of a given constant will be interpreted as votes for the same thing. Votes for a letter without labelling the constant it represents will be ignored. Votes for a made-up constant (i.e. one I can’t find easily if I do a little google research) will be treated as votes for the numeric value listed or nothing.

===============
Q: What about variables?
A: By definition, variables do not have a single value without additional context, so they do not count and will be ignored (don’t vote for “x” kids). Expressions that contain a variable will also be ignored, so please leave your polynomial expressions at home.

===============
Q: Can I vote for the Pythagorean theorem? The Quadratic formula? E=mc^2?
A: No, for a whole bunch of reasons. This is Top 50 Numbers, not Top 50 Equations and Expressions.

===============
Q: What about roman numerals or other numeral systems?
A: I love other cultures and want to learn more, but I’ll admit I’m no polynumeralist if that’s even a word! Please give me the arabic numeral equivalent and explain what you like about it in the other numeral system in your optional “Why” section.

===============
Q: What about Fractions? Exponents? Percentages?
A: Fractions, percentages and exponents will be reduced to their numeric values. A vote for a fraction, percentage, or exponent and its equivalent numeric result will be interpreted as votes for the same number.

===============
Q: What if I want to vote for 12, but in base 8?
A: Well aren’t you fancy! For the sake of my sanity, all numbers will be assumed base 10. You’re welcome to say “This number is really cool in base 8” in your “why” section, but I’m still going to assume you’ve given me the base 10 value.

===============
Q: Can I vote for 1/0? 0/0?
A: Boy, you sure are a fan of edge cases! If you want to get that picky on division by zero or any other advanced math topic, you should explain yourself in your “why” section, and tell me what number you think the result of your expression is.

===============
Q: Ok, but are you going to count .3333333 and ⅓ as the same thing?
A: Probably yes, unless it makes sense to split them up for some reason. I’ll be gentle when I slam irrational figures and approximations together. If you really don’t want me to do this to your number, mention why in your optional “Why” section.

===============
Q: What the heck are Infinite Cardinal and Ordinal numbers?
A: Good question! They are ways to understand specific infinities and count past infinity respectively. Here’s a short Youtube primer (There's a joke in the first minute, but it gets down to brass tacks after that):


Here’s a Wikipedia page on the most famous infinite cardinal.

And here’s an article on ordinals.

Please feel free to ask anything I haven’t already thought of in the comments! I’m looking forward to this!

Last edited by Bulgakov; 12-06-2018 at 05:54 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2018, 04:09 PM
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Bulgakov, you fool, pi isn't the golden ratio, that's phi!

Anyway, good post and I'm existed for this list. It's gonna be a good one!

The 2-round method seems interesting. I think you're right that there will be a lot of contenders after the first round, although I expected there will be a huge separation between the top 10 or so and the other ~200 nominees. There are, after all, a small handful of numbers that have a lot more cultural cache than others.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karzac View Post
Bulgakov, you fool, pi isn't the golden ratio, that's phi!

Anyway, good post and I'm existed for this list. It's gonna be a good one!
Of course I made that typo....10 rounds of proofing and Boom Goes the Dynamite.

On a side note, I'm really surprised this list is the reason for your existence Karzac. I encourage you to consider what happens to your universe after the #1 is revealed, because I'm hopeful life will continue after that!.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:20 PM
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Yay! I'm excited to pick my favorite 25 numbers!

Can i vote for quaternions?

(My list will contain mostly integers though. Long live the human psychological bias.)
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:27 PM
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Cool, I’ll have to brainstorm a bit to see if I can think of some notable ones.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karzac View Post
Anyway, good post and I'm existed for this list. It's gonna be a good one!
Muphry's Law strikes again.

I, too, am existed for this list.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clarice View Post
Can i vote for quaternions?
Good question! I had not considered those. Since I am allowing traditional complex numbers (such as 2 + 3i), I don't see any reason why I couldn't approve a quaternion. That said, make sure to note in your "why" column what it is so I don't accidentally think it's a plain ol' polynomial expression!
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:07 PM
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Default And I already hated them.

I've never hated numbers more than I have after reading this thread.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:09 PM
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Can I vote for Novocaine?
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Thraeg View Post
Can I vote for Novocaine?
Sure! Whether or not it gets counted or ignored will depend on if it meets the definition of a number above.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:20 PM
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If this list were any more niche, I'd have to use an electron microscope
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:27 PM
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Everyone uses numbers Daikaiju! It’s the broadest topic this side of letters!
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daikaiju View Post
If this list were any more niche, I'd have to use an electron microscope
And you could calibrate it on a numerical scale!
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bulgakov View Post
Sure! Whether or not it gets counted or ignored will depend on if it meets the definition of a number above.
Well, it sure numbs me.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:50 PM
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Vectors and matrices are right out? Not sure on how the plural bit of "Numbers" applies.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:54 PM
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I feel like vectors, matrices, and quaternions would all be in a similar class, so we should probably decide they're all allowed or none are.

I worry a little that the two-round format will take some of the surprise and delight away from the final list, but OTOH I can understand why you're doing it for this topic. And in the end, it's your list! Looking forward to how it turns out.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulgakov View Post
[*]Imaginary numbers (by the mathematical definition “a number that is expressed in terms of the square root of a negative number,” not “Squorbulutz, the number between 17 and 17.1 that makes you see purple.”)
Dang, that knocks this off of my list.



Also Dkrtzy RRR but that's a sentient mathematical equation, not a number, so I guess that wouldn't have counted anyway.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:12 PM
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Aw man, we gotta do math? *kicks can*
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destil View Post
Vectors and matrices are right out? Not sure on how the plural bit of "Numbers" applies.
Short answer: we're dealing with single terms here, stick to a single term that represents a single constant unless you're heading into infinity territory as described above.

Long Answer:
  • (Implicit in the questions above) Coordinates in a coordinate system are typically an expression of multiple numbers arranged through some form of geometric space. Coordinates are a grouping of numbers (one could even argue a matrix of numbers), not discrete numbers in their own right. The individual numbers isolated from their coordinates would qualify as numbers.
  • Vectors are labels, not discrete numbers. Vectors are also expressed as an equivalence class of coordinates on a grid or in 3D space, so for our purposes they are just another set of multiple-term coordinates.
  • Matrices are definitely out, as they are generally arrays encompassing multiple terms, and are therefore made up of multiple numbers as defined here. A single-term matrix such as "[7]" could also just be interpreted as 7 without losing much fidelity for the purposes of our rankings, so it's not worth the edge case.

So why do quaternions still qualify? A subtle distinction: while quaternions can be graphed in a 3-dimensional coordinate system, they are in fact a number system in their own right (that is, they are discrete single terms that can be reduced no further). Quaternions are all interrelated through the fundamental equation that defines them:

i^2 + j^2 + k^2 = ijk = -1

And therefore can be reduced to a single, albeit complex, term. This is fundamentally different than, say, the Cartesian coordinate system where coordinates are mapped along independent axes that need not have any relationship with one another.

Please feel free to argue that I'm splitting hairs if you would like, but it's my list so I'll take the liberty. A distinction has to be drawn somewhere!

Last edited by Bulgakov; 12-06-2018 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:10 PM
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For really long numbers will you accept a shorter form that still accurately indicates the value?
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Torzelbaum View Post
For really long numbers will you accept a shorter form that still accurately indicates the value?
Scientific notation is totally fine, as is a word that has a commonly understood meaning (example "2.493 million", "three hundred duodecillion", "google"). Note I will only assume the amount of accuracy you do in your description, so "2.493 million" becomes "2,493,000" in the final tally.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulgakov View Post
Of course I made that typo....10 rounds of proofing and Boom Goes the Dynamite.

On a side note, I'm really surprised this list is the reason for your existence Karzac. I encourage you to consider what happens to your universe after the #1 is revealed, because I'm hopeful life will continue after that!.
Wow, truly a self-own on my part.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:25 AM
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Oh yeah, the prohibition against the *other* kind of imaginary numbers also disqualifies one I'd have used, bleem, the integer between three and four.

I honestly have no idea if that one was just an isolated in-joke among a particular old group of friends of mine, or if it had wider purchase in some context. (No relation to the PSX emulator of the same name.)
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:32 AM
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I'm hoping this list will be layperson friendly.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:40 PM
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So I DON'T Send my list to issun this time?
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Issun View Post
I'm hoping this list will be layperson friendly.
There is no shame in picking 25 things you know are numbers and sending them to me...that is, in fact, probably what most TTers will do. People who studied math or use a lot of math in their jobs interact with this stuff on a much more nitpicky level because there's a lot of things to talk about. But it's fine to not think so hard, say "36 because I'm 36 years old" and running with it!

The only thing I ask is you send me a list of up to 25 things that are numbers.
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:10 AM
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Six lists submitted so far and these numbers are already off the proverbial hook!
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:00 AM
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Sent!
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:23 AM
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We are at 10! 10 Entries! Ah-ah-ah!
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:17 PM
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I'm curious - has there been much (or any) overlap in the entries you have received so far?
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