Friday, October 26, 2012

33 Interesting Things About The Number 300

Today is the 300th day of this year. It's also the 300th straight day that I have posted a blog entry. In "honor" of that, I present this (hopefully) fun list of 33 things that are related in some way to the number 300. Enjoy!


1)  In the year 300 B.C., Seleucus founded the city of Antioch, some 20 miles up the Orontes River, naming it after his father. Several hundred years later, Antioch would become a chief center of early Christianity. With its large population of Jewish people in a quarter of the city known as Kerateion, Antioch attracted some the earliest and most well-known missionaries, including the apostles Peter and Paul and Paul's fellow laborer, Barnabas. The converts in Antioch were the first to be called "Christians." The modern city of Antakya, Turkey (pictured below), sits atop the ancient site of Antioch.

2)  Also in 300 B.C. the central texts of Jainism – the Jain scriptures – were first recorded. For those of you (like me) who didn't know -- Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul toward divine consciousness and liberation.

3)  In the year A.D. 300, the city of Split – a Mediterranean city on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea – was built. Modern-day Split, located in Croatia, is that country's second-largest city, with a population in excess of 178,000 citizens.

4)  Also in A.D. 300, the lion became extinct from Armenia, and the elephant became extinct from North Africa.

5)  In A.D. 300, the Kama Sutra, an Indian handbook on the art of sexual love, was produced by the sage Vatsyayana. This is the only tasteful photo I could come up with for this one.

6)  Also in A.D. 300, the Panchatantra, a Sanskrit collection of fables and fairy tales, was written in India. Incidentally, "Panchatantra" is an extraordinarily fun name to say aloud.

7)  The magnetic compass for navigation was invented in China in the year A.D. 300. Looks a lot like a ladle to me, but whatever...

8)  Tiridates III made his kingdom of Armenia the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion in A.D. 300.


9)  300 is a 2007 action film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller. It is a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. The plot revolves around King Leonidas, who leads 300 Spartans into battle against Persian "god-king" Xerxes and his army of more than one million soldiers.

10)  Frank Miller's limited comic-book series 300 was inspired in large part by the 1962 film, The 300 Spartans, a movie that Miller had watched as a young boy.

11)  300: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, composed by Tyler Bates (and orchestrated and conducted by Timothy Williams), met with some controversy in the film composer community (side note: the film composers have a community?) because the soundtrack borrows elements from Elliot Goldenthal's 1999 score for the film Titus. Warner Bros. Pictures later acknowledged that they had been made aware that elements of the soundtrack had been "derived" (aka "stolen") from Goldenthal's compositions "without our knowledge or participation" and noted that Goldenthal and Warner Bros. are "pleased to have amicably resolved this matter." In other words, Goldenthal got paid big-time for a movie he technically didn't even work on.

12)  Pop/rock singer-songwriter Heather Nova released an album called 300 Days At Sea in September of this year. Here's a track from that album called "Do Something That Scares You." Not bad.

13)  Jazz singer Chieko Sano released an album called 300 Flowers in October 2010. I couldn't find a videos of any song from this one, but the cover is nice and happy.

14)  The Latin music group Banda 300 released their debut album El Alegre (which means "The Happy") in January of 2010. The following song, "Popurri de Corridos" (which translates, roughly, "The Potpourri of the Unpaid Rent") is taken from that album. It's alright, I suppose.

15)  In January 1982, recording artist Jim Nollman released an album called Playing Music With Animals: The Interspecies Communication of Jim Nollman With 300 Turkeys, 12 Wolves, & 20 Orca Whales. Which is apparently exactly what it sounds like it is. I couldn't find a video of any tracks (I hesitate to call them songs) from this album, either, but here's the album cover.

16)  In April 2009, the pop band Andy Suzuki & The Method released an album entitled 300 Pianos. This is the title track from that CD – it's quite lovely, actually.

17)  This classic blues song by Howlin' Wolf is entitled "300 Pounds Of Joy." Give it a listen – it's pretty cool.

18)  300 Miles To Heaven (original title: 30 Mil do Nieba) is a 1989 Danish-Polish-French film based on a true story about two Polish boys – a teenager and his little brother – escaping from communist Poland and fleeing to Sweden by hiding under a truck. Here's a link to the entire film, but you may not get a whole lot out of the dialogue if you don't speak Danish and/or Polish, as there are no subtitles. (Sorry!)


19)  In paintball, 300 feet per second is the maximum legal velocity of a shot paintball.

20)  In bowling, 300 is a perfect score, and is achieved by rolling strikes in all ten frames (twelve strikes total).

21)  Winning 300 games is the mark of a very successful career for a Major League Baseball pitcher. Reaching this milestone usually (but not always) earns the player a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Only 24 pitchers in the history of baseball have won 300 or more games; pitchers Lefty Grove and Early Wynn both won exactly 300 games during their careers.

22)  Hitting .300 or better (reaching base safely at least 30% of the time) is considered extremely good for a Major League Baseball hitter. Of the thousands of players who have enjoyed long careers in baseball, only 207 have hit .300 or better for their entire careers. Emmitt Heidrick was the only player to hit exactly .300 (down to the last decimal point) for his career.

23)  To date, only 135 baseball players have hit 300 or more homeruns throughout the course of their careers. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein and current Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard have hit exactly 300 homers in their careers.

24)  Quarterback John Elway of the Denver Broncos threw exactly 300 touchdown passes during the regular season in his career, good for sixth all-time.


25)  "300" was a bowling-themed pinball machine that was released in August 1975. Only 7,925 machines were produced. A "300" pinball machine in good condition would sell for around $400 today. (This point would have worked out much nicer if the current value was $300...but I digress.)

26)  For whatever it's worth, the number 300 is the sum of ten consecutive prime numbers: 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41 + 43 + 47 = 300.

27)  300 is the lowest possible credit score on the Fair Isaac scale.

28)  Chrysler has made several different models of cars with "300" in the name over the years, including the Chrysler 300 Letter Series (1962-71); the Hurst 300 (1970); the Chrysler 300 (1979); the Chrysler 300M (1999-2004); and the modern-day Chrysler 300 (2005-present).

29)  Human beings are born with approximately 300 bones, though this number goes down to 206 by the time we reach adulthood, as some of the bones naturally fuse together over time.

30)  On this date in 1597, Korean military leader Admiral Yi Sun-Sin routed the Japanese Navy's 300 ships with only 13 ships at the Battle of Myeonnyang during the Imjin War. Sounds kinda like King Leonidas' odds, eh?

31)  The number 300 in Roman numerals is CCC. "CCC" can also be an abbreviation for Civilian Conservation Corps, Copyright Clearance Center, California Correctional Center, Cleveland Chiropractic College, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Calorie Control Council, Coca-Cola Classic, Closed-Circuit Camera, and Campus Crusade for Christ, among many others.

32)   The number 300 is mentioned 31 times in the Bible, but only once in the Koran. Notable occurrences in the Bible include: the perfume that Lazarus' sister Mary used to anoint Jesus' feet, which cost 300 denarii; the length of Noah's ark, which was 300 cubits; Gideon's 300 invincible soldiers; and Samson's 300 captured foxes which he loosened on the harvest of the Philistines.

33)  According to Google Maps, if I were to drive exactly 300 miles from my house in a northeasterly direction, I would arrive at the Cross Creek Golf Club in Beltsville, Maryland, which is located approximately 23 miles from Washington, D.C., and 27 miles from Baltimore. But I wouldn't play golf, because I mostly hate golf. If I were to drive exactly 300 miles due west from my house, I would arrive at Marchman Field, a small local airport near Rutherfordton, North Carolina. What I would do when I got there, I don't have a clue. If I were to drive exactly 300 miles from my house in a southwesterly direction, I would arrive at the Charleston Tines & Tusks Sportsmen's Club near Dorchester, South Carolina. But I wouldn't hunt there, because I mostly hate hunting. Finally, if I were to drive 183 miles east of my house to Nags Head, North Carolina, then hop in a boat and sail an additional 113 miles in an easterly direction (for a total of 300 miles), I would end up somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by nothing more than hundreds of miles of very deep water. Yeah...that's not gonna happen.

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