Numbers

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Today is the 26th of May.

"During the next two or three years all the young men were twenty-six years old. It was the right age apparently for that time and place." (Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas, 1933)

"Towards the age of twenty-six

They shoved him into politics."

(Hilaire Belloc, "Lord Lundy" from Cautionary Tales, 1907)

Twenty-six is, as we may have mentioned before, the number of L of the A, but only in English-speaking countries. The Cambodian alphabet has 72 letters, while the Hawaiian has only 12. In Korea, they have 10 vowels and 14 consonants.

Arithmetically, 26 is equal to the sum of the digits of its cube:

263 = 17576; 1+7+5+7+6=26

26 is also:

The number of popes who have been assassinated;

The cards in half a pack;

The thickness in metres of the walls of Babylon;

The percentage of the world's strawberries grown in the US;

The number of times mount Mayon, a volcano on Luzon in the Philippines, erupted on 24 March 1993;

The number of ways Giles Rose, chef to Charles II, could fold table napkins.

It is also interesting to note that whereas a frog has 26 chromosomes, a chicken has 78, precisely three times as many.

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