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On the Importance of Remaining 29 Years of Age

by J. M. Haile

The number 29 has some attraction since it is a prime, the sum of two squares (4*4 + 5*5), and the sum of three consecutive squares (2*2 + 3*3 + 4*4).

It is also <30, which somehow correlates with trust, at least according to Jack Weinberg, a leader of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley in 1965: "Don't trust anybody over 30."

Moreover, it apparently bounds novelty: "Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things." [1] So, 29 seems a good compromise to keep things interesting.

There are 29 days in a leap-year February and nearly 29 days in a lunar month.

A town in California is named Twentynine Palms, Iowa was the 29th state to join the Union, and there are 29 states in India.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a prop-driven heavy bomber that flew in WW II and the Korean War. It was in service with the US Air Force from 1942 through 1960.



[1] Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt, Random House, 2002, p. 111(?).