Monday, January 24, 2011

2011: The Year of Odd Dates - - Realtiy of the Message Claiming the Addiing Birth Year With Age Equals 111

Beware! It's a Cyber World - - Summary:

Widely circulating message through mails and posted on Facebbok and other social network sites asks the recipient that if you add the last two digits of your birth year to the age that you will be this year you will come up with 111, a number significant in the year 2011 because it will have four dates that consist of multiples of the number 1, such as 11/11/11. 

Let's have an instant look to the contents of the mail:
Subject: oddly strange

This year we will experience 4 unusual dates.... 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11 ......... So figure this out.... take the last 2 digits of the year you were born plus the age you will be this year and it WILL EQUAL .... 111

Beware! It's a Cyber World - - Explanation:

This message is currently moving around Facebook and other social networks and blogs and also circulates via email. The message first notes that the year 2011 features four unusual dates that are made up of multiples of the number one, specifically 1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, and 11/11/11. It then outlines the following math trick. If you add the last two digits of the year you were born to the age that you will be this year, your answer will be the number 111. The message implies that the answer "111" is particularly significant because of the unusual prevalence of "1's" in 2011 dates.

Of course, it is certainly true that 2011 has four dates made up of multiple "1's." And the math trick does work for people born in the last century. For example, I was born in the year 1963. I will be turning 48 this year. So:
  • 63 + 48 = 111
For those born this century, the trick still works but the answer will be two digits rather than three. For example, if a person was born in 2005, he or she would be turning 6 this year. So:
  • 05 + 6 = 11
However, except for the prevalence of dates that have multiples of the number 1, the trick is not specific to the year 2011. For example, in 2010 the calculation came to the number 110, i.e. the last two digits are the same as the year. For example, given that I was born in 1963:
  • 2010: 63 + 47 = 110
  • 2009: 63 + 46 = 109
  • 2012: 63 + 49 = 112
Thus, while the trick is certainly interesting - at least at first glance - it is not specifically connected to the year 2011. In fact, broken down, the "trick" is actually fairly basic math. But, I am sure that mathematically minded readers will be able to provide some interesting and insightful explanations of just why the trick works and I encourage them to do so via the comment system below. A post on the Math Questions blog also provides a more in depth discussion on the issue.

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