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Economics, Finance and Investments

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21. Superstition ^HOT^

Superstitions about numbers may seem like they're little more than tall tales thought up by desperate gamblers, but these numerical superstitions impact virtually every stage of life and have moved well beyond the world of gambling. Whether inspired by biblical stories or the legends of ancient people, these so-called lucky or unlucky properties assigned to numbers have real meaning to many people. Based on little more than a story, where the origin is often unknown, people will alter travel plans, delay purchases or spend their life savings on lottery tickets. Wonder where these numbers earned their reputations? Read on to learn about some of the most popular superstitions in the world of numbers.

21. Superstition

The superstition associated with the number 13 is so common that it even has its very own name, albeit one you probably can't pronounce: triskaidekaphobia. People are so afraid of this seemingly innocent number that the United States economy loses almost a billion dollars in business every time Friday the 13th rolls around. It also explains why more than 80 percent of high-rises don't have a 13th floor: Architects skip straight from 12 to 14 to appease suspicious folks. So how did 13 get its spooky rep? It might date back to a Norse myth: When a 13th guest showed up to a party attended by 12 gods, one of the gods ended up dead, and tremendous destruction followed. The suspicion of the number 13 could also be blamed on Judas, who was the 13th guest to make it to the Last Supper, and everyone knows how well that turned out.

When it comes to numbers, some superstitious folks believe that even numbers are unlucky , while being odd lends a number a bit of luck, making it a smart pick for gamblers. While it's unclear exactly what the rationale is behind this tale, it could be that even numbers are unlucky simply because they are divisible, which lessens or reduces their power. Odd numbers can't be reduced in this manner, so they're stronger and more powerful than even figures [source: Webster]. This superstition even extends to money: Some folks believe it's best to tear the corner off a two-dollar bill, giving it an odd, three-sided edge, just in case.

Just as 13 is considered one of the unluckiest of all numbers, 12 is considered the rare lucky number that happens to also be even. The origins of this superstition are sketchy, but some sources suggest that 12 gained its lucky rep simply because it's so nicely divisible. For such a small number, it can be neatly divided into halves, quarters or thirds. Others believe that 12 wins positive vibes simply because of its close proximity to the supremely unlucky 13. Of course, there are those that argue that 13 is unlucky simply because it's so indivisible, particularly when placed next to the neatly divided 12. This argument quickly turns into a chicken-or-egg debate, but it doesn't change the fact that the number 12 comes with an air of luck [source: Patrick and Thompson].

Superstitions surrounding the number eight give it luck due to its association with resurrection and renewal [source: Webster]. In Christianity, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, leaving the eighth day open for renewal and a better world. This angel number is also one of just a handful where Eastern and Western superstitions align; the Chinese celebrate the number eight because it sounds like their word for prosperity. A car license plate that includes the number eight is seen as lucky, prompting buyers to pay hundreds or thousands more for the plate than one that doesn't contain an eight. Some Chinese people even change their address or phone number to include the lucky number [source: Murrell].

In a world where the majority of people don't identify themselves as particularly superstitious, it's astounding just how much impact superstitions about numbers can have on the economy. I was shocked to learn that businesses lose almost a billion dollars each time the 13th of the month just happens to fall on a Friday. While researching this article, I also learned that people in some Asian countries will pay a premium simply for a license plate or street address that contains a lucky number. Manufacturers and retailers have caught on as well, assigning random prices to products that rely more on the inclusion of lucky numbers than on any retail strategy or research.

Surgical fatalities occurs in threes and sevens, at least that's the rumor on the surgical floor. With four fatalities in the morning alone, superstition rules the roost at Seattle Grace, so Addison jujus Meredith for good luck. Burke has George retrieve a scrub cap Cristina is holding hostage, Meredith and Bailey try to convince a friendly stalker to operate and Cristina is annoyed endlessly by her OCD patient while Richard's past arrives in Seattle Grace.

Nikki, 30, was brought into the ER after what she claimed was being struck by lightning. She told them that a tree was struck by lightning and fell on her. Callie realigned the bones in her broken leg, casted it, and asked Nikki about the bruising on her side, which is when she admitted that she'd been up in the tree when it was struck and had fallen out. She had a severe spleen laceration, but her superstitions led her to refuse surgery until after midnight. Before she could be taken into surgery, she started bleeding out and despite efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead.

The definition of superstition, according to the dictionary, is fascinating. It is a belief or practice stemming from ignorance or fear of the unknown. It may also result from a false conception of causation or trust in magic or chance.Superstitious beliefs are mostly associated with luck and fate. It was popular back in ancient times before science was formally established. Absurd and bizarre it may be, but superstition continues to thrive in this modern advanced world. This is thanks, in part, to the many celebrities and popular icons who still patronize it!

There are many cases where superstition causes fear, one of which is the fear of the number thirteen. This well-known superstition has had a worldwide influence on architectural designs of buildings, commercial transactions and even day to day activities.

Technology scales the vast difference between superstition and science. Science uses technology to open the reality behind what is perceived by the senses. In so doing, it makes mere superstition hearsay.

The conflict between science and superstition covers light and darkness to some extent. Anything dark has a superstitious connotation that it will lead to bad luck. Science sees darkness as merely the absence of light.

Cheng-Chi Lee studied circadian rhythms at the University of Texas Medical School. He related one remarkable experiment in 2013 which showed that a period of complete darkness could help restore bad eyesight. What a stark contrast to the bad-luck, darkness-inspired superstitions!

The spread of bacteria was more likely in those days when vaccinations were not readily available. At least the Indians were smart enough to think that bathing was an effective deterrent. Their superstition may well have saved them from the devastating effects of bacteria-borne disease when science was well out of reach.

Concluding hastily, or slowly but surely?One thing easily noticeable about superstition is that it can come to outright conclusions or make hasty moral judgments. Science barely makes judgments at all but lays a lot of hypotheses based on readily-available information.

According to many countries around the world, there is a superstition that seven-year bad luck awaits anyone who breaks a mirror. Apart from being injured by the shards of glass, avoiding bad luck is relatively safe as far as science is concerned.

Superstition fails to reach obsolescence despite its centuries-old existence. But why do so many people still cling to superstitions despite unfounded claims or reliable data disproving it?

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, which happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in the same year. For example, 2015 had a Friday the 13th in February, March, and November; 2017 through 2020 had two Friday the 13ths; 2016, 2021 and 2022 had just one Friday the 13th; 2023 and 2024 have two Friday the 13ths.[1]

The superstition seems to relate to various things, like the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday.[a][b][6]

It is possible that the publication in 1907 of T. W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth,[13]contributed to popularizing the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.[9]

The Greeks also consider Tuesday (and especially the 13th) an unlucky day.[15] Tuesday is considered dominated by the influence of Ares, the god of war (or Mars, the Roman equivalent). The fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade occurred on Tuesday 13 April 1204, and the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans happened on Tuesday 29 May 1453, events that strengthen the superstition about Tuesday. In addition, in Greek the name of the day is Triti (Τρίτη) meaning the third (day of the week), adding weight to the superstition, since bad luck is said to "come in threes".[15] 041b061a72


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