# Want: Part III

By Phil Plait | January 4, 2008 1:00 pm

Via Astropixie comes this item of win:

But it doesn’t say how I can get one!

And how would 1984 open? “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 9 + root(9) + 9/9.” Not quite the same ring to it.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor

1. Fritriac

Woah! Schweet! Definitely want too!

2. Genesius
3. Rav Winston

Oh! This is TOO FRELLING KEWL!

4. aiabx

Hey! The clock says it’s time for 9 beers!

5. JackC

Feh. It isn’t a sqrt(9) * 9 – sqrt(9) hour clock. Who needs it?

6. alfaniner

Do I want one?

Nein!

7. alfaniner

Actually – maybe I do want one — I love unusual clocks. But the joke didn’t work the other way…

8. SonOfSLJ

I would have phrased the joke something like…

“Can I live without one?

Nein!”

9. Christian X Burnham

You need to express 13 using only three ‘9’s. Can it be done?

10. Michelle

that is so GEEK!

I want it! (what’s the triple nine society?)

11. Fergus Gallagher

13 = 9 + sqrt(9) + .9 bar

12. SonOfSLJ
13. Chip

D’oh! Oh course. I gotta get that.

14. I think I’ve confused my coworkers enough with my binary clocks.

15. Cameron

I just need to figure out how to replicate the cool design in the center. Then it’s not too hard to print out a clock face and replace an old one.

16. MarshallDog

There’s a glare… does 1 o’clock say (9/9) to the 9th power?
And does anyone know how to prove .9 bar is equal to 1?

17. Chris R.

Why do analog clocks even have numbers? Are they afraid people will forget how to tell time on them? ðŸ˜›

18. Phy

Chris R. – but if you don’t have numbers on an analog clock, how will you know when you’ve hung it upside down? ðŸ˜‰

19. Fergus Gallagher

@MarshallDog

(‘ = bar)

x=.9′
10x – x = 9.9′ – 0.9′ = 9
=> x=1

OR

1/3 = .3′
3 * .3′ = 3 * 1/3 = 1
but 3 * .3′ = 0.9′
=> 0.9’ = 1

20. Fergus Gallagher

@Chris R

– I guess you don’t have have young children to try to teach to tell the time, then!

21. This clock gets a failing grade. It fails to reduce the expressions to the simplest possible terms.

22. It fails to reduce the expressions to the simplest possible terms.

Lawyers need clocks too.

23. > Why do analog clocks even have numbers? Are they afraid people will forget how to tell time on them?

There are 12-hour analog clocks, 24-hour analog clocks, probably various other X-hour analog clocks for specific purposes, so on and so forth…

24. OK, OK, I’m entranced by the none-ness of the thing, but ….

… why 9?

They could have used any other single-digit integer (though “1” would have been pretty pointless).

25. OK, OK, I’m entranced by the none-ness of thing, but ….

… why 9?

They could have used any other single-digit integer (though “1” would have been pretty pointless).

26. Mikhail Bragoria

pfft… it’s not even a 24 hour clock.

27. Murff

I like the inner design, it would be better without all the 9 crap…

28. Sean

Doesn’t have to be nine. I just worked out a whole clock using a triple 3.
8 was pretty trippy. Any other numbers?

29. Moose

Oh, that’s slick. I want one.

30. is there any particular significance to the symbol in the center. Reminds of something from the TV series Threshold a couple of years ago.

31. Tim G

Suggested Remaining Hours for a 24 Hour Clock:

9+9 – 9!/9
9 + 9!/9
9! / sqrt(9) OR 9 + sqrt(9)!
9! / sqrt(9) + 9/9 OR 9 + sqrt(9)! + 9/9
9+9 – 9/9
9+9
9+9 + 9/9
( 9 – sqrt(9) )! – 9/9
( 9 – sqrt(9) )!
( 9 – sqrt(9) )! + 9/9
9! / sqrt(9) + 9

32. MandyDax

@Tim G
It’s a triple-nine clock. You have to use exactly three nines in the expressions.
13=9+sqrt(9)+.9bar
14=9+sqrt(9)!-.9bar
15=9+9-sqrt(9)
16=9+sqrt(9)!+.9bar
17=9+9-.9bar
18=9/sqrt(9)*sqrt(9)!
19=9+9+.9bar
20=?
21=9+9+sqrt(9)
22=?
23=?
0=9(9-9)

BTW, 9!=9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2*1=362880

I couldn’t find solutions for 20, 22, and 23 using three 9’s. I’m sure someone here is smart enough with logic to prove if there are no solutions for them. ðŸ˜›

33. Anotherplayaguy

Has anyone worked out the numbers 1-12 using three sixes?

If so, I’d like to see it.

Thanks,

34. ZZMike says: “OK, OK, Iâ€™m entranced by the nine-ness of thing, but â€¦.
â€¦ why 9? They could have used any other single-digit integer (though â€œ1? would have been pretty pointless).”

It’s a reference to the “triple 9 society”, a sort of super-Mensa group where your IQ has to be at or above 99.9% of the general population (roughly 134).

– Jack

35. 1 = ((6-6)*6)!
2 = (6+6)/6
3 =
4 =
5 = 6-(6/6)
6 = 6-(6-6)
7 = 6+(6/6)
8 =
9 =
10 =
11 = 66/6
12 = 6+(sqrt(6) * sqrt(6))

36. alfaniner wrote:
> Do I want one?
>
> Nein!

Do I want one?

Nein. I want nine! (But not 9!)

37. Tim G

Oops! I just realized that I was thinking of triangular numbers when I was using the factorial (!) symbol.

Substitute Tn for n!.

38. Crudely Wrott

That’s the miracle of analog devices. You needn’t know the delineations that the hands are passing, you only need to know their relative positions on the dial. That, plus knowing whether it is day or night, tells you the time at a glance.

That’s why analog (needle) gauges are still predominant in race cars. They are in airplanes too. Even those with glass cockpits display critical indicators such as artificial horizon and rate of climb as digitally simulated analog instruments. They are simply more intuitive and can be understood at a glance even under demanding circumstances.

39. Ronan Cunniffe

1 = F((6+6)/6)
2 = sqrt(F(6+6))/6
3 = F(6+6 – F(6))
4 = 6+6-F(6)
5 = F(6-(6/6))
6 = F(6) – F(6/6)
7 = F(6) – F(6/6)
8 = F(6) + (6-6)
9 = F(6) + (6/6)
10 = F(6) + F(6) – 6
11 = F(6) + (F(F(6)) mod 6)
12 = F(6+6)
13 = F(6+(6/6))

I started trying to finish Evolving Squid’s solution, but things rapidly multiplied out of control… 11 gave me serious paws for thought.

Ronan

40. Ronan Cunniffe

Oops. Some of those got away…

6 = sqrt(F(6+6))-6
12 = F(6*6/6)

Ronan

41. chris H

even though the answers to the equasions are all ready known, how most of those answers pan out I dont know

all i can say when i see that language called math is WHAT THE?!?

42. Phineas J. Whoopie

Great fun, but seriously, people who own these should not be walking around unsupervised.

43. Fergus Gallagher

20 = floor(sqrt(sqrt(factorial(9))))-sqrt(9)-.9bar
23 = floor(sqrt(sqrt(factorial(9)))) – 9/9

44. Fergus Gallagher

22 = floor(sqrt(sqrt(gamma(9)))) + 9 – .9bar

I don’t think “gamma” and “floor” are cheating if “bar” and “factorial” are allowed

45. LUke

Fergus already pointed this out on how 6.999 repeating does equal 7 but the equation here was a little easier for me to understand, so:

n=0.9 repeating
10n=9.9 repeating
10n-n=9
9n=9
n=1

I’ve heard of this, but never seen the proof for it…interesting

46. Ronan Cunniffe

@Luke:

Write 1/3 as a decimal.
Multiply by 3.
Discuss.

Ronan

47. Luk3

1984 was a very well written book. George Orwell is amazing. Also what is that clock going by it make no sense.

48. Lurchgs

Co-worker had one. Loved it. Bought one for youngest LurchGS replacement’s birthday, and sent one to LurchGS’ immediate paternal progenitor for the end-of-year celebration.

Sadly, overlooked ordering one for self. Oh well, I can always stop in Youngest’s room for a time check

49. Mango

I clicked though to the comments on this just to see if there might be a Holy War on the “0.999…. = 1” issue. I’m happy to see that there isn’t. Maybe because the readership here understands the implication of mathematical proof better than other places on the Internet.

50. Shannon

I want this clock so when you get the information you better tell me!

51. Robert Carnegie

My sister has a backwards clock. The hands run in reverse direction and I think all the figures are mirror images. Besides a good gimmick, it would suit in a traditional barber’s shop.

I didn’t quite catch in a [30 Rock] episode where the girls were discussing these two guys they might date, one of the guys was shown explaining laboriously he has a watch he is real proud of, that shows the time in pie slices, I think he -may- have meant analogue style… don’t do it, lady!

52. Anotherplayaguy

Ronan,

Thanks for the input, but I am confused by F(6) which seems to equal 8. Why is that?

Thanks

53. Joe Kraus

What is the meaning of a time of day that is plus or minus 3:00 o’clock, or any of the other times that involve a square root. For example, the 4:00 spot could also be -2:00, since -3+1=-2.

Joe

Awesome.

55. printzen

A better representation of the number 7 using three nines is: 9/.9 – sqrt(9) = 7 exactly. This avoids any need for discussion about whether .9 recurring is or is not equivalent to 1 (at least in reference to the “3 nines clock”)

56. j m rowland

9
9
obscured by reflected light glare
FAIL!
No cheeto for you!

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