Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. In three days it will be the 8th day of the 8th month making this a great week to contemplate the number and the magic fortune-telling 8 ball.

I hope you are finding these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and I welcome your feedback. ( And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.


The Quirky Fact

In 1950, kids (and their parents) were introduced to the Magic 8 Ball – essentially an oversized hollow cue ball with a 20-sided die floating in dark blue alcohol inside. Each triangular side of the die has a brief statement printed in raised letters, and for 70 years now, millions of people have been turning it upside down, asking it a yes or no question, flipping it up, and entrusting their future to it.  Who can explain why? Fortunately, if you want a yes answer, your chances are pretty good, because 10 answers are affirmative (“Without a doubt”), five are non-committal (“Cannot predict now”), and five are negative (“Don’t count on it”).

The Quirky Observation

If someone invents something successful, someone else will invent a knock-off. Here are some of the variations that have made it to market in the ensuing years with a sampling of their messages.

  • Sarcastic Ball – Yeah, right; Ask me if I care; You’ve got to be kidding; In your dreams
  • Instant Excuse Ball – My fish died; My dog ate it; 24 hour flu; Jury duty
  • Magic 8-Ball for Moms – Try it, you might like it; You’ll poke your eye out; Not until you finish your vegetables; Because I said so; In a minute
  • Dr. Freud Therapy Ball – How did that make you feel? Tell me about your mother; You’re in denial; Go to your happy place
  • Affirmation Ball – Nice outfit; Have you lost weight? You look marvelous; Your breath is so minty
  • Smart Cookie Ball (in the shape of a Fortune cookie) – Future sticky like rice; You don’t wonton know; Answer sweet and sour; Try the eggroll

The Question
The mathematical symbol for infinity is like an 8 on its side, but the symbol is not believed to have derived from the number. That is just about the only sentence related to the mathematical and scientific facts I looked up on the number 8 that I can understand. Do you thrive on number quirks? If so, here’s one for you related to 8s.

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Featured Product
The Wiser Now Slide Show “Nimble Numbers” requires no math skills, and yet is appealing to both math lovers and math avoiders. In addition to numerical humor and a variety of fascinating facts, the exercises include:
• 6 Trivia quizzes on numbers and the human body, burning calories, numbers in song titles and more
• 4 Word games on celebrating twos, 3-letter body parts, and more
• And discussion and imaginative exercises, too

You can learn more and order it here.

The Quiz 
To the Chinese, eight is the luckiest of numbers and accounts for the fact that the opening ceremony 12 years ago of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began at precisely 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 p.m. on 8/8/08. Here is an excerpt of that ceremony.

Can you guess what else is true about the number 8?

1.  For those who believe in numerology, 8 is associated with ambition, fortitude, prosperity, and achievement.
True ___         False ___

2.  Chihuahuas are on average 8 inches tall.
True ___         False ___

3.  The traditional gift for an 8th wedding anniversary is copper.
True ___         False ___

4.  The atomic number for nitrogen is 8.
True ___         False ___

5.  The only globally understood octagonal (8-sided) traffic sign is the stop sign.
True ___         False ___

6.  You know that spiders have 8 legs, and so do crayfish, shrimp and lobsters.
True ___      False ___

7. A ship’s wheel usually has 8 spokes.
True ___      False ___

Answers and explanations are at the end of this document.

The Shameless Request

Please share Wiser Now Wednesday with anyone you think might be interested, and if you represent an organization that would like a customized version, please send me a note at

The Kiosk of Resources

Answers to Quiz
1. True. It’s also associated with balance and harmony (in part because it’s a symmetrical number), but on the other side, it’s associated with materialism, a sense of entitlement, and authoritarianism. People with a close association to 8 are better providers than lovers; they’re not known to be sensitive to others’ needs.

2. Relatively true – usually 6 – 9 inches.

3. False. It’s bronze. But the modern version is linens.

4. False. Oxygen.

5. Again, relatively true. It’s essentially understood everywhere, but it’s not used everywhere, and it certainly doesn’t say “Stop” in English everywhere.

6. Partly true. Crayfish do. Lobsters have 10, counting 3 pairs with claws, and shrimp have 5 pairs for walking and another set of 5 pairs for swimming.

7. True as shown, but many also have only 6 spokes.

There are also four cardinal and 4 intercardinal points on a compass for a total of 8, and most umbrellas have 8 sides.

My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire am doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2019 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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