Thursday, May 24, 2012

40 Interesting Things About The Number 40


1)  -40° is the unique temperature at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales correspond. In other words, -40°F is equal to -40°C. Whichever word you use to measure it, "forty below" is really cold!

2)  40 is the atomic number of zirconium. Also known as the poor man's (or woman's) diamond. It does have a nice sparkle to it.

3)  .40 is a common caliber for bullets in firearms cartridges, most notably the .40 S & W.

4)  40 is the customary number of hours a full-time employee is expected to work in a week in the U.S. and other Western countries.

Um, excuse me, ma'am, but you misspelled "20"...

5)  In American vernacular, a "40" is a glass bottle that holds 40 fluid ounces of malt liquor. Malt liquors are commonly sold in 40-oz. bottles as opposed to the standard 12-oz. bottle that contains a single serving of beer.

6)  "4-0" (pronounced "four-oh") is derogatory slang for mall security guards and/or their vehicles. The term is derived from "5-0", a slang term for police officers and/or their vehicles.

7)  The average term of a pregnancy – counting from the woman's last menstrual period – is 40 weeks. How amazing that a brand new human being can come into existence in so short a time – though most women would probably agree that those are the longest 40 weeks of their lives!

8)  Turning 40 years old is seen by some as the entry to middle age, and one step closer to old age. Others (usually those who are actually turning the "big four-oh") contend that reaching 40 means that you are old enough to learn from your mistakes, yet young enough to chart a new direction in your life.

9)  In modern Christian practice, Lent consists of the 40 days preceding Easter. In much of Western Christianity, Sundays are excluded from the count. In Eastern Christianity, Sundays are included.

10)  Russian folklore contends that ghosts of the dead linger at the site of their death for 40 days.

11)  If you've been married for 40 years this year, then you are celebrating your ruby wedding anniversary. (Hint, hint, fellas!)

12)  Interstate 40 (aka I-40) runs from Wilmington, North Carolina, all the way to Barstow, California – nearly from one coast to the other!

13)  The word "forty," when spelled out, is in alphabetical order – for whatever that's worth.

14)  An ancient Arabic proverb states that "to understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days."

15)  To "catch 40 winks" means to take a short nap.

16)  Silly-sounding words that rhyme with 40 include: warty, corti, lortie, mortie, roarty, shorty, sortie, sporty, and torti. Move over, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail! I see a brand-new rabbit story within this word list!


17)  In the Great Flood, rain fell on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. As a result, all living beings on he earth perished, except those aboard Noah's ark.

18)  The Hebrew people roamed in the Sinai desert for 40 years before reaching Canaan, the Promised Land.

19)  Joshua, Caleb, and the rest of the Israelite spies explored Canaan for 40 days.

20)  The giant Goliath challenged the Israelites twice a day for 40 days before young David defeated him  with a rock and a slingshot.

21)  Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the Judean desert, during which time Satan came and tempted Him. Each time, Jesus resisted the temptation and responded by quoting from the Scriptures.

22)  "40 lashes" was one of the punishments commonly meted out by the Sanhedrin. In actual practice, only 39 lashes were administered.

23)  The time period between Jesus' resurrection from the dead and His ascension to Heaven was 40 days.


24)  The year 40 B.C. was known as the "Year of the Consulship of Calvinius and Pollio." That year, Marc Antony (of Julius Caesar fame) married Octavia, sister of Octavian (aka Augustus, the first Roman emperor). Also that year, Antony's lover Cleopatra (the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt) bore twins, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios – of whom Antony was the father. Tony, you got some 'splainin' to do!

25)  The year A.D. 40 was a leap year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the "Year of the Consulship of Augustus without colleague." That year, the Roman emperor Caligula started on a failed campaign to conquer Britain (though he declared himself victorious regardless), declared himself a god, appointed his horse Incitatus a senator, and ordered that all the heads of the Greek deity statues be replaced with heads fashioned after himself. Needless to say, Caligula was a tad cuckoo!

26)  "40 acres and a mule" refers to the short-lived policy, during the last stage of the Civil War during 1865, of providing arable land to black former slaves who had become free as a result of the advance of the Union armies into the territory previously controlled by the Confederacy. The combination of 40 acres (a standard size for a rural family plot) and a mule was widely recognized as providing a good start for a family farm.

27)  South Dakota was the 40th state to be admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889. South Dakota's biggest claim to fame is that Mount Rushmore is located there. South Dakotans would also like me to mention that the Black Hills, the Badlands, Custer State Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial – to name a few – can also be found in South Dakota.

28)  Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th president of the United States of America, serving two consecutive terms from 1981 to 1989. Personally, I thought he was a much better President than he was a film actor, but he was actually pretty popular in both professions.


29)  In Major League Baseball, each team is allowed to have 40 players under major-league contracts at any given time (not including players on the 60-day disabled list). However, a team may only have 25 on its active roster – with the exception of the period from September 1st to the end of the regular season, when teams are allowed to expand their game-day rosters to include the entire 40-man roster.

30)  In football scouting, a player's value – in part, at least – is determined by how quickly he can run a 40-yard dash.

31)  In tennis, the number 40 represents the third point gained in a game. A score of 40-40 (three points each) is called "deuce," at which time a player must score two consecutive points to win the game.

32)  The uniform number "40" has been retired by the following teams in honor of the following players for their contributions to the team and their respective sports:

* Baseball:  Houston Astros (Don Wilson); Pittsburgh Pirates (Danny Murtaugh).
* Basketball:  Atlanta Hawks (Jason Collier); Denver Nuggets (Byron Beck); Detroit Pistons (Bill Laimbeer).
* Football:  Arizona Cardinals (Pat Tillman); Chicago Bears (Gale Sayers); New England Patriots (Mike Haynes); New York Giants (Joe Morrison); Philadelphia Eagles (Tom Brookshier).

Bill Laimbeer (left); Larry Bird (right)

33)  The term "40-40 Club" is used to describe baseball players who have accomplished the singular task of hitting 40 homeruns and stealing 40 bases in the same season. This exclusive club consists (currently) of only four members: José Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano.


34)  "40 Days" is a song by Christian rock band Third Day from their 2001 album Come Together. Great song, in my opinion. But what do I know? Those of you whom I heard from regarding my "20 Worst Songs" post apparently don't think I have very good taste in music.  #justkidding

35)  "40 Deep" is a song by  Christian rappers  Lecrae, Tedashii, and Trip Lee. These three guys make up just a small part of a greater community of Christian hip-hop and rap artists who are starting to make some headway into what has historically been a very secular style of music. This song is talking about that very community of believers, describing their numbers as (at least) 40 men (and women) deep...and still growing. My favorite verse of the song is Trip Lee's, which goes a little something like this: 

"A clique of us is shining, rhyming, walking, talking, sharing Christ / Very hype, find us hiding behind Him, all prepared to fight / Very tight, fighting, trying to share the cross, He spared our life / We're living by the blood like we're parasites, get it right / My team carries a bunch of high-beam blaring lights / Might seem scary, but we nice, see we carry life / Light is seen clearly, man, we're glaring very bright / Check the fleet, man, we deep, so we might seem Barry White / Ever since we heard about the murder, how they buried Christ / Eyes upon the cross, even though that is a scary sight / But that was the merger we converted, now we very tight / He died for His bride, homey, how you like the married life? / Christ the name we calling on, can't wait till He calls us home / You know we be falling often, we can't walk it all alone / My crew's always roaming like some stalkers, we ain't stalking homes / Started with the cross and we continue with the cross alone..."

From left to right: Tedashii; Lecrae; Trip Lee; and Sho Baraka

36)  "40" is a song from rock band U2's 1983 album, War. This one's got some really good lyrics. See U2 performing it live at Red Rocks below.

37)  UB40 is a British reggae/pop band formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England. They are best-known for their #1 hits "Red Red Wine" and "Can't Help Falling In Love."

38)  The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a 2005 comedy film – starring The Office's Steve Carell – about a middle-aged man's journey to – well, let's just say, change his status. I've never seen the film, but it was pretty popular when it first came out.

39)  Rachael Ray, one of my least favorite television hosts of all time, once had a show on the Food Network called $40 A Day. The premise of the show was that Rachael would travel to a certain city – whether it was in the United States or some foreign country – and she had to eat all three meals of the day without spending more than $40 total, including tips. This was the only show of hers that I could ever stomach more than one or two episodes of without having to change the channel. Mainly because I'm a cheapskate and I'd like to know where I can get decent eats for not a whole lot of dough when I'm traveling to an unfamiliar city.

40)  This Sumatran toddler started smoking cigarettes when he was 18 months old, and had soon progressed to 40 cigarettes a day! The boy's father admitted to introducing the child to smoking, but insisted that since the child was healthy, why make such a big deal out of it?  #smh

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