My Antibirthday Occurs at Midnight Tonight

Birthday-Cake

Clearly, this requires some explanation.

January 12 is my birthday, and today is July 13, 2015.

  • Remaining days in January, after today: 19
  • Days in February through June, this year, which isn’t a leap year: 28 + 31 + 30 + 31 + 30 = 150
  • Days in July up to, and including, today: 13
  • Total days after my last birthday, up to and including today: 19 + 150 + 13 = 182

How long until my next birthday, starting at midnight, tonight?

  • The rest of July: 18 days
  • August through December: 31 + 30 + 31 + 30 + 31 = 153
  • Pre-birthday January days: 11
  • Total days between today and my next birthday: 18 + 153 + 11 = 182, also.

Since the number of days between the end of my last birthday, and midnight tonight, is exactly the same as my number of pre-birthday days which follow midnight, it follows that midnight tonight is the one point in time, this year, which is as far away from my birthday as one can get, on the calendar. The fact that antibirthdays are usually points in time, rather than full days, is a consequence of the fact that most years have an odd number of days. Subtract one for my birthday (or anyone’s, except for those rare people born on February 29 — we’ll get to them later), and 364 days remain in most years. Divide this by two, and there are 182 days to fall on either side of an antibirthday midnight, for most people, during most years.

Next year, 2016, is a leap year. What will happen to my antibirthday next year, then, with its 366 days? As it turns out, next year’s antibirthday, for me, will be a full day. Why? Adding “leap day” makes it necessary to subtract two days, rather than just one, to get 364. (An even number of post-subtraction days is needed for divisibility, by two, with no remainder.) My antibirthday in 2016 will be on July 13, all day long, because there are 182 days between that day and both of my nearest birthdays — one in that antibirthday’s near past, and one in its near future.

If we don’t have the same birthday, and you want to figure out when your own antibirthday is, you can follow the pattern above, with only minor adjustments, if your birthday, like mine, falls on or before February 28. Some additional adjustments will be needed for those with birthdays in March through December, though. Why it that? Simple: my birthday occurs before February, and this isn’t true for most people. My full-day antibirthdays occur during leap years only because of this fact. If your birthday occurs after February is over, you’ll still get full-day antibirthdays every four years, but those years won’t be leap years — they’ll be one year removed from leap years, instead. Whether this means such years will immediately precede, or follow, leap years is left as an exercise for the reader.

There’s a small group of people for whom this gets even more complicated: those whose birthdays only happen every four years, on “leap day,” February 29th. Of the people I know well, only one of them, my friend Todd, was born on a leap day, and, just to be a pest, I’m going to assign him the problem of figuring out his own antibirthdays. After all, he has plenty of time for this, since the fact that he only has a birthday every four years causes him to age at 25% of the normal rate. He looks only a bit older than me, having had only a few more birthdays that I’ve had, even though he was born in 1812, and can remember the American Civil War clearly. Fortunately for him, he was still a child in the 1860s, and this saved him from actually having to fight in that war, or any other. It must be nice to have a 280-year life expectancy, Todd!

[Image credit: before turning the birthday-cake picture above upside-down, I downloaded it from this website.]

At 47, My Age Is a Prime Number Again =D

For some reason, I like having my age be a prime number of years. Today, I turn 47, so I get to have a prime-number-age for a whole year now. This hasn’t happened since I was 43, so I made this 47-pointed star to celebrate:

47

I also make birthday-stars for composite-number ages as well, just because it’s fun, and you can find at least two others on this blog, on January 12, in past years. Also, I wouldn’t want to have to wait until I’m 53 (my next prime age) to make another one of these.

At the moment, I certainly don’t feel 47. There are times when I feel twenty-two . . .

There are also times when I feel six.

calvin-on-learning

At the moment, however, I feel about thirty. For that reason, I put the 47-pointed stars on the thirty faces of a rotating rhombic triacontahedron, because (a) it’s my birthday, (b) I want to, and (c) I can.

Rhombic Triaconta

Image/music credits:

  1. I created this using Geometer’s Sketchpad and MS-Paint.
  2. “When Yer Twenty-Two,” by The Flaming Lips, via a YouTube posting.
  3. Two panels from a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, by Bill Watterson. (Calvin is perpetually six years old.)
  4. Created using the image at the top of this post, and the program Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator, which is available here.

How Far Have I Traveled?

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How Far Have I Traveled?

Earth’s average orbital speed is a mind-blowing 108,000 kilometers per hour — fast enough to travel one earth-diameter in just seven minutes or so. At that speed, surviving on this ball of rock for 46 years, as of today, means that I have traveled roughly 43 billion kilometers in my lifetime, just due to earth’s motion around the sun. Also, by the way, NO, I will not convert this speed, nor this distance, into those annoying non-metric units!

Star 46

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Star 46

I started a personal tradition 43 years ago, on the day I turned three years old, of associating stars with my birthday. On that day, I looked up in the sky, and saw the three stars of Orion’s Belt: Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. Given that these three stars were bright, and formed a fairly straight line, and given that I was turning three that day, it seemed perfectly obvious that those three stars had been placed there, in the sky, specifically for me — and so, that day, I claimed them as my personal property. (No one has ever accused me of lacking ego, nor self-confidence.)

As a young child, the science that most fascinated me was astronomy. In more recent years, my interest in stars has become more focused on the geometrical figures called stars, or star polygons — and so, now, rather than looking for my birthday stars in the sky, I always use geometry to construct some star, or starlike pattern, based on the number of years I have survived, to date. This is the one for the number 46, my age as of today.

On Sharing a Birthday

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On Sharing a Birthday

Something strange happened to me, once, on January 12, in a year in the early 1990s. Until that day, I knew of no one who shared the same birthday as myself. Then, that day, I happened to flip on my car radio, which was already tuned to a news/talk radio station. I was completely stunned by what happened next, for I had accidentally stumbled upon The Rush Limbaugh Show on his birthday — and mine. I learned this almost immediately, for one of Limbaugh’s callers said, right after I turned the radio on, “Hi, Rush! Happy birthday dittoes!”

Limbaugh laughed, and thanked the caller. I screamed, and then I yelled, “Noooooo! I can’t have the same birthday as Rush Limbaugh!” However, like it or not, I had to admit that this coincidence was, indeed, true. Also, since Limbaugh is older than I am, I also had to face up to the fact that he had this birthday first.

I wanted to have someone else to know I shared a birthday with — someone I could respect — so I did some research to find other people who also shared the same birthday as myself. In those days, of glacially-slow dial-up Internet with much, much less of value to be found there, this meant actually going to a physical library, looking in actual, bound-paper books (how primitive, right?), and spending a few hours to do what can now be done, with Google and Wikipedia, in seconds. I learned, in those hours, that I also share the birthday of January 12 with none other than John Hancock, the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence, according to the old-style system for the date of his birth. (The difference between old- and new-style dates is caused by the discrepancies between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.) Given that the primary author of that document was my all-time favorite president, Thomas Jefferson, that was something of which I could be proud.

In later years, I learned that Wikipedeans (a group to which I belong) have constructed pages there where anyone can quickly and easily learn with whom they share a birthday. The one for my birthday is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_12. By looking at the corresponding page for your own birthday, you, too, can find out whom you share a birthday. No matter what day that is, you’re quite likely to find, as I did, both people you like and dislike. After all, there are only 366 birthdays to go around, so sharing birthdays with famous (and infamous) people is inevitable for us all.

How To Age Slowly

This is the day I turn 45, and I still get carded when I buy beer. Those are my qualifications to write on this subject.

My first pieces of advice are to avoid tobacco altogether, and to moderate use of alcohol. I’ve seen people age prematurely, due to both factors, right in front of me (over a period of years), and it’s frightening. It’s also unnecessary, since these are both choices.

We also choose what we eat. My choices are limited by food allergies, though, forcing me lower on the food chain. I cannot eat mammals (nor shrimp) with becoming seriously ill, so I simply don’t eat beef, pork, etc. Perhaps this helps. It certainly cannot hurt.

Dysfunctional relationships make people unhappy, and unhappy people seem to age more quickly. I have found leaving bad relationships to be a most effective way of initiating (temporary, I hope) apparent reverse-aging, with the result that I look younger now than I did five or ten years ago.

I also feel younger. Are there aches and pains? Yes, there are, but they were worse at 35. I have chronic pain from a fall, and the resulting neck injury. Ten years ago, I was begging doctors for prescriptions for painkillers. Now, ibuprofen, stretching, and the occasional visit to my chiropractor give me the relief I need.

I think I would look 65 (or be dead) if I had not sought mental health treatment years ago, so getting such help, if you need it, is part of my advice. The problem here is often that people fear the stigma of mental illness, and delay seeking help, or avoid it altogether. Fighting back, to weaken that stigma, is the reason I write publicly on such subjects.

Another idea is a birthday ritual I have which, I must admit, can’t seriously be suggested as something that helps me age slowly, but it can’t hurt, either, and it’s fun. I make a star-design every year on my birthday, based on my new age. Here, therefore, is a star-design with 45 points:

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There is also an anti-aging attitude some people adopt, and I am one of them. This is a voluntary, deliberate refusal to stop being, in some senses (if not others), young. This can manifest itself in many ways; perhaps my star-ritual is one of them. Life is a game, of course, and I happen to like games — a lot.