Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Innumerate Power of Sevens

Normally error-free Mixed Meters announced that yesterday was July 8. Oops. Sorry. Actually tomorrow is July 8.

Today is July 7, 2007. This is a big deal in American culture where we write the date as 7/7/07. Many of us ascribe power, influence, magic and wizardry to this combination of numbers. Silly us. Silly U.S. I hope that more reason prevails elsewhere on this globe because you guys put the day before the month when writing the date. (Ha ha).

F-minus - When we're rich...
The positive aspects of 7/7/7/07 are to provide filler for news broadcasters eager to avoid actual topics of importance. And it's a good wedding date if you suspect your spouse (not necessarily only husbands) is likely to forget anniversaries. (Marriage on February 29, however, would be even better.)

But what's wrong with all the attention to three sevens in a row? Well, it's just one more little reminder of the innumeracy of the American public. You can take that to the bank.

As a case in point, I present a circular from our mailbox yesterday (July SIXTH!) advertising Bell Home Loans. Click it to enlarge, read the print, do the math!

Sounds to me like they'll send me $100K or more for which I must pay only $5K total over 49 years, with "NO Interest ... Ever" and "Nothing Due until 2056", by which time, in all probability, I will be dead. They could get better return with a Certificate of Deposit at the bank in the grocery store at the corner.

mail advertising from Bell Home Loans - no payment for 50 years
There is no fine print to be seen. Nothing on the reverse of the card except their logo, a bulk mail tag, our address and this line: "As Mentioned in the Wall Street Journal" (It's not just arithmetic that we can't do.)

If someone actually knows what the hidden catch to this offer is, please leave a comment. The only thing I can imagine is that they insist on the house as collateral. If you miss the $100 yearly payment they take the house. Nice work.

F-minus cartoons can be found here. "Innumeracy" was apparently coined by Douglas R Hofstadter, author of Godel, Escher, Bach - a book I found very influential back in the day.

A MM post called Counting to Seven. I wonder, is "no payment for 49 years" a Biblical thing? And forty-nine is seven squared, isn't it. Wait a minute, let me get my calculator.

Three Seven Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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