TED Conversations

Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach


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What is it about 'three'?

"Good things come in threes."
"Third time's the charm."
"Two's company, three's a crowd"
Being a third wheel... having a three-way... a love triangle...
The Rule of three... the top three...
Could ""omne trium perfectum" be fact?

If I type the word "three" into the search bar here on TED, I get a page full of threes. 3 reasons to do this, 3 ways to achieve that...

What is about three?


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  • May 21 2013: I am an applied mathematician. Let me explain the number 3 somewhat differently from your argument. First of all , the reason that all the "even" numbers are non primes except the 2, of course because all of them are divisible by 2. But how does the word "even" come from? My interpretation is that if you put 2 identical weights on both sides of a balance scale, the "arm" of the scale will be flat over the supporting surface, which we usually called as being "even" with the surface. Now, if we look at the arm of the balance as a straight line, then the the concept of the evenness would be similar to the meaning of "parallel".
    Now this could be followed with my extension of your observation. Suppose that we build a "balance" with 3 semi-arms, with 120 degrees apart from each other emitting out from the center support with a needle tip. Then when you put THREE equal weights onto the 3 pans hanging from the 3 arms, then they will also be balanced. They are balanced over a flat surface rather than over a superficial line. What I am saying is that we could have named the group of all numbers which are divisible by 3 as "steven"? (from the words "even steven") numbers as contrasted to the term 'even" for the numbers divisible by 2. But jokes aside, I would call these numbers "treven" (from the term trois or tres for the number 3 in Fr or Sp) If we all accept this new terminology then we would have a group of non-prime "trevens", except the value 3. Similarly, we could call a group on numbers divisible by 5 as "cinevens", etc.
    My argument is that the phenomenon of the "even" numbers is not mythical, but rather it was due to the ancient numerologists' not looking beyond the "one-dimensional reasoning".
    • May 21 2013: Bart, this is truly fascinating!
      Have you submitted this idea to someone?? Your reasoning is incredibly logical, the 'treven' group needs to be known!
      • May 21 2013: Lizanne, No, I have not submitted my idea to anyone, because it came up to me.the very first time. And don't worry about it. I am old enough that any of my ideas would be permitted for anyone to use as they like. I wouldn't even quarrel about the authorship anymore. By the way, I posted some new ideas in a current TED DISCUSSION about "utopia" which might be constituted as novel practical ideas. But again anybody can use it as s/he pleases.
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      May 22 2013: So we've taken out all the evens and the trevens. That's a good start at finding prime numbers, since it also removes the fourvens, the sixvens, the eight- and nine-vens, etc. Now we just need to take out the fivevens and then the sevenvens ...
      I believe we're rediscovering the "Sieve of Eratosthenes."

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