Ironic, Sans poll

By Phil Plait | October 15, 2008 11:03 am

I like the Ironic Sans website (duh), but now even more so: he’s posted a poll of sorts. He’s not asking your opinion… not really. But go ahead and take a look and vote.

I perused the choices briefly, and voted. I was surprised to see that my choice was a close second (after you vote you can see the stats). If you want to know what I picked, click-n-drag over the box below to highlight the text:

I picked "0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13", the Fibonacci series.

What does that say about his readers? What does that say about me? (Actually, I know what it says about me.)

What did you pick?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor

Comments (128)

  1. Schmoikel

    I picked the same as you Phil. Not sure what that says about me. I almost picked 42, gotta love Adams.

  2. I picked the same as Phil, though I wavered because of my DNA fanhood.

    Interesting poll!

    One number that should have gone in was 82.24 (now there’s a 1% reference if I ever saw one: probably a 0.01% reference, in fact…)

  3. Ignorant Atheist

    Glad I chose good ol’ fib ( cause I know I can’t spell it right).

  4. How embarrassing. I can recognise at least 9 out the 11 numbers without thinking. But I was drawn to 1984 – love the book. The year wasn’t too bad either.

    The worst thing, dagnabbit, is that I have that “bad” eighties song going through my head now. No, not 1984 by the Eurthymics but I might go over to Youtube and play that one to get the other one out of my head.

  5. Adrian

    42 without flinching considering the question :)

  6. «bønez_brigade»

    Go, George Lucas, go!

  7. Bruce A

    I *almost* went with 8675309 (and that song will be stuck in my head all day) but in the end I chose 42.

  8. Thanks Bruce, just washed it out of my brain and you’ve gone and mentioned it again.

  9. Heh, I picked the same thing. The Fibonacci sequence is just too cool. On the face of it, it’s so simple, yet it pops up throughout nature and mathematics.

  10. Brian

    It’s impossible to vote for pi when there are only two digits behind the decimal point.

  11. 42, I had to since I tattooed it on my chest

  12. Sir Eccles

    It’s an old one that is worth repeating:

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand maths and those that don’t.

  13. So many choices. I have to confess needing to look up 24601 and 4 8 15 16 23 42. In the end, I went with the Fibonacci (and an order of garlic bread).

  14. serenity

    I went with 1984 because I’m very worried about the freedom-restricting policies the EU is starting to bring in, and the non-democracy of the union as a whole.
    Second off: 42 (brilliant books). After that, I would probably have picked the fibonacci series or pi :)

  15. Doc

    I was rather surprised to see how many people chose i (as I did).

    The moment I saw it at the bottom of the list, I could hear my high school trig teacher saying “I is a number.”

  16. Look out, Phil–us “i”s are catching up with you!

    What does it say about me that I know what every single one of them means?

  17. Other Shane:

    Oingo Boingo had a pretty good 1984 song, too.

    —Proper Shane (Yes, I’m Proper Shane. Wanna make something of it??? :^P)

  18. 4 8 15 16 23 42

    It is a formula for figuring out the number of days until the next season of LOST…

  19. Chip

    Those who picked the Fibonacci series should have won a CD copy of Bela Bartok’s “Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta” a spooky, haunting masterpiece usually shunned by today’s bland “C Major” easy-listening classical music stations.

    In the first movement, which is a chromatic, slowly evolving fugue, each measure that features the entrance of the melody follows the pattern of the Fibonacci series. The theme also mirrors itself and a lot of other complex stuff happens that the listener, swept along in the otherworldly atmosphere doesn’t need to know about to enjoy it. (Bartok never bragged about this but music theorists and listeners have noticed it.)

  20. madge

    I am not a number! What no number 6?

  21. Sir Eccles:

    There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand maths and those that don’t.

    You mean: “There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don’t.”

    I picked 42, but only because 37 wasn’t available.

  22. DrFlimmer

    42, of course 😉

  23. I nearly went Fibonacci, hovered over it a second, and picked 42. I knew you’d be one or the other, Phil, but I was sure you’d have gone for Doug.

  24. Phil (not Plait)

    I chose 42 because it is, after all, the answer to the ultimate question. But I might have chosen 6.022 x 10^23 if it had been on the list, but only because I like saying “Avogadro”.

  25. KC

    I picked the Fibonacci series because it’s just so elegant: 0 + 1 = 1; 1+ 1 = 2; 1+2 = 3 and so on. However, I was tempted both by 3.14 and 42. I’m surprised 3.14 didn’t win out – doesn’t everyone like Pi?

  26. Matt Craig

    It was tough, but then I realized that since no one knows what the question is, 42 is the answer.

  27. rob

    for the people that don’t recognized the numbers:

    3.14 pi rounded off, just like some politicians tried to legislate.
    1138 George Lucas THX-1138 movie.
    42 Douglas Adams, answer to the life, the universe and everything.
    867-5309 Jenny’s number, from Tommy Tutone’s song.
    0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 Fibonacci series.
    4 8 15 16 23 42 numbers from tv show Lost.
    90210 Beverly hills zip, a tv show also.
    24601 Jean’s prison number in Les Mis
    1984 Book by Orwell
    300 movie. For Sparta!
    i square root of -1.

    since the question seems to be imaginary, the answer ought to be also. so i picked i.

  28. pumpkinpie

    I picked 1984, because it is the last year the Tigers won the World Series. It was a first instinct pick.

    If it wasn’t on the list I would have picked i. I love i.

  29. I picked 42 because it is the answer to everything.

  30. Tim G

    I also picked the Fibonacci series, but it wasn’t an easy choice.

    Numbers that should have been on there?:

    (5^0.5 + 1) / 2

  31. Went with 24601. Showtune geeks must be represented!

  32. Angel

    Am I the only Les Miz geek here? 24601 of course

  33. Swede

    I thought a poll without a question was totally irrational at first, but i used my imaginaton.

  34. Helioprogenus

    How could I have picked anything other than 42. Not only is it a number, but it’s the representation of life the universe and everything. How much more all-encompassing can you get? There is no god, but 42, and best of all, 42 doesn’t interfere with our lives, doesn’t listen to us, doesn’t provide us with comfort, in fact, it doesn’t do anything at all. In fact, 42 is indistinguishable from nothingness, yet equally as indistinguishable from somethingness. It is ultimately a contradictory number that perfectly explains the nature of existence without having to invoke magical powers or extra-numery numbers. It is a self contained entity that might as well be 24, but it’s not, it’s 42. Thank you Douglas Adams.

  35. I picked Pi, because it’s the only one I use on a regular basis.

  36. Tim G


    i see what you did there.

  37. Since I run the DNA Fan Group over at Atheist Nexus, I had to go with 42… And please, no base 13 jokes!

  38. ELB

    No, Angel, you’re not the only Les Mis geek here. I as well went with that.

  39. Wow, I actually recognized all of the numbers except the LOST sequence.

    I went with the same # as Phil though. I love the Fibonacci.

    The poll should have had 137 as an option though. No, not ‘leet’ 1337, but 137 the inverse of the fine structure constant.

  40. RL

    I voted “in the shade.”

  41. I picked the same as you to start with just because I’m a math geek, but then I changed my mind and went with 42 because that answer came before the question and this poll has no question.

  42. Had to do 42. It’s a character flaw…

  43. Donnie B.

    As an electrical engineer, and one who was voting over an electronic communications medium, what other choice did i have?

    Another value or two that might have attracted a few votes:

  44. IVAN3MAN

    @ Tim G

    You forgot 451 (Fahrenheit).

    Me? I picked 3.14 — because pi, or π in Greek, goes on into infinity… like space.

  45. zeb
  46. Navneeth


    In a way, not being a fan of SF, that was the most “complete” option, since 3.14 is not pi, and 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 is just a finite sequence of numbers.

  47. Navneeth

    Tim G, does the 1080 represent Bach’s The Art of Fugue?

  48. People who like sequences may like to know that there is actually a site called “The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences” – do a search and you’ll find it.

    P.S. just in case anyone wondered about my suggestion of 82.24 – it’s what you get if you represent a currency amount in a two-byte integer (little-endian) and then accidentally overwrite it with ASCII spaces. This happened sometimes in my first I.T. job (in 1989, phew! newarly 20 years ago now) as the code was written in ‘C’, so there were sometimes buffer overrun bugs. As a second-line support guy, I became sensitive to any bug report that mentioned “£82.24” :)

  49. RoaldFalcon

    I couldn’t choose among the more geeky ones, so I decided to give Jenny a call.

  50. I had to pick i – everyone should be okay with occasional irrationality, right?

  51. Ross R.

    Fibonacci sequence, of course!

  52. Mark Anderson

    I went with “i” because of a fondness for calculus.

  53. Mus

    I’m a bit ashamed of not knowing since I’m a biology freak, but what do any of those numbers have to do with DNA?

  54. ShavenYak

    I went with 42, since I didn’t know what the question was. But I might have been swayed by the presence of 23, 1/137, or e.

  55. Ryan

    I was disappointed that e was missing, so I picked i. I would have preferred e to the i pi power. 😉

  56. Anton P. Nym

    Pi; fundamental and irrational. Nearly went for 42, though.

    — Steve

  57. Justin

    I chose for the humans out there 3.14159265358979323846… or for my computer friends 11.00100100001111110110… and for my old military hardware folk such as an old uyk-43 3.243F6A8885A308D31319

  58. Sili

    24601, because Les Miserable makes me cry.

  59. Quiet Desperation

    I picked Ron Paul.


  60. voted for i. Harkens back to transient responses in RLC circuits, though I would have rather seen j.

  61. C

    Luke, disguised as a stromtrooper: “Prisoner transfer from Cellblock 1138.”

    Imperial officer dude (suspicious): “I wasn’t notified.”

    (PG-rated carnage follows).

  62. Cheyenne

    Phi should have been on there (1.168….). Fascinating number and a good book (The Golden Ratio).

    Phi, It’s the new Pi.

  63. LMR

    Even though I recognized most of the number sequences there, I picked 1984 just because of where it was in the list.
    Since there was no real question, I just picked near the edge of the bell curve – but not at either end.

  64. Bunk
  65. American Voyager

    My favorite sequence wasn’t there: the powers of 2. Would have picked it in a heartbeat. It was close between Fibonacci and 1984. I finally chose 1984 because it is a favorite book and the Fibonacci sequence was a programming question on an exam from my college Pascal class.

  66. Bill

    I picked the Fibonacci series not because I knew what it was, but because it was the most interesting one. I didn’t like math much, so I apologize for not knowing that number had a name.

  67. LOL, I picked Fibonacci. Nearly went with pi, though. Mmmmmm, pi.

  68. Jose

    I couldn’t go with Fibonacci. It gave me awful flashbacks of reading the Da Vinci Code. Instead I selected “all of the above”.

  69. Law Mom

    You know, I considered 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13, because I’m a logical yet simple girl, but I happened to have had “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish” from the musical running through my head at that very moment. So 42 it is.

  70. Jose

    “All of the above” was the only way I could vote for the actual correct answer, which is of course 11. (There were 11 options)

  71. PJE

    Don’t know if anyone has noticed Phil’s hidden text, but that should be Fibonacci sequence, not series :)

    I think I deserve a complimentary copy of your new book for the correction. The entire internet may collapse if that error is not corrected!!!!


  72. PJE

    He also could have included 98.6 in the list

  73. Chris

    I picked i. How can you not go with the imaginary answer?

  74. Annette

    I picked 3.14… although I loathe when they use so few sig figs. But I see that simple little number every day despite the fact that we complained about it as children because we would “never need to know this math crap”.

    …. Was tempted to click 42 though.

  75. Crux Australis

    3 sf for pi?! Grr…my vote anyway.

  76. Crux Australis

    Plus, it’s the combination to my…whoops, nearly had to kill you all.

  77. Since i am imaginary i choose i.

  78. Jose

    Actually, I think the average normal body temperature is now thought to be around 98.2 degrees. Now you owe me a copy of Phil’s new book for the correction!

  79. Knurl

    Given a poll of such magnitude, there should have been 2.512.

  80. Tim G


    I was thinking of high definition televisions with 1080, referring to the number of horizontal lines of full HD.

  81. Oded

    I had a really tough call, between Fibonacci, Pi, and I. If there was E^(pi*i), I would have picked it no doubt.

    E^(pi*i) is one of the most amazing, ridiculous things ever. My response to it, is still, from the first time I heard it, “you’ve GOT to be kidding me”.

  82. Bart

    I voted for 4 8 15 16 23 42 because it was the only one I *didn’t* recognize. Hmm.

  83. M

    I like pi (especially blackberry) but in the end I clicked on 42. It is probably because I am currently re-reading the books.

  84. Charles Janecka

    42 because it is obviously the most important number to life, the universe, and everything.

  85. Wo Hu

    8675309 – it’s a cheat code for full maps in Heroes of Might and Magic 2 😉

  86. Had to go with Fibonacci — the REAL answer to the unasked question.

  87. JackC

    42, though Fibonacci was a very close one – being one of the first sequences I became familiar with. I didn’t recognise a very few – I don’t watch Lost, so I didn’t know that one, and I wasn’t familiar with Jean’s cell number.

    Lacking 42, I think I would have gone with Fib.


  88. KC

    Tim G:

    I was a little disappointed there wasn’t the number 6, but only because I used to watch The Prisoner.

  89. Paul M.

    Had to be 42 – big fan of Hitchhikers
    They butchered pi… 2 decimal places!

  90. Clair

    There was no hesitation — the Fibonacci sequence.
    φ would’ve won if it were on the list.

  91. stumpygh3

    couldn’t decide between i, Fib or 42. So flipped a coin. Improbably came down… (went for fib but that spoils the (lame) joke)

  92. Adrian

    I pick
    1 1. 2 1. 1 2 1 1. 1 1 1 2 2 1. 3 1 2 2 1 1. 1 3 1 1 2 2 2 1. 1 1 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 1

  93. Wendy

    I picked 1984, because not only is it my favourite novel of all time, it’s also the year of my birth!

  94. Whitney

    I wish I could have ranked them or something, I had a lot of trouble choosing between the Fibonacci Sequence and 42.

    So, it’s 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 > 42 > i > 3.14 > 1984 > 24601 > 4 8 15 16 23 42 > 300 > 1138 > 8675309 > 90210

  95. i went with i


    because i r complex

  96. flynjack

    I voted 42….the obviuos answer without a question.

  97. I’m a big fan of 42, personally.

  98. dre

    What is this Orwell nonsense? 1984 is on the list because it’s a bitchin album! Hot for Teacher? YES.

  99. Jim

    I would have picked pi, but 3.14 is not pi, but a very poor approximation. Thought about picking i, but didn’t like the idea of picking an imaginary number, so I went with HHGttG and picked 42 since it is the answer to life, the Universe and everything.


  100. PJE

    @Jose the normal temperature now 98.2? I’ve not heard that before! When did that happen?


  101. For those of you who think you picked pi, you didn’t. 3.14 is not pi. Now, if there’d been the ellipsis at the end, you would have. It’s the only thing that ruined their math geek cred for me…

    Some other numbers that could have been included:

    32767 (yes, I’m a geek)
    1541 (for my fellow Commodore homies)
    1.618… (could there be a more perfect number?)
    25101415 (two references for this)
    7438000WHI12127272911E8EX4111209115 (let’s see who gets that one!)
    (Someone beat me to Avagadro’s number)

  102. MarkH

    i 2 chose fibonacci. :)
    but only because −459.67 was not mentioned….. mmmmm vodka.. oh wait

  103. Yoeman

    I picked pi, and got an “Internal Server Error”, figures.

  104. yy2bggggs

    i, of course. It reminds me of linear algebra. And abstract algebras, and vectors in general, mathematical spaces–quaternions and octonions and such (which spin into game programming and the like). And physics. And electronics.

  105. Jeffersonian

    logical in this context and all-encompassing

  106. Nathan

    I was quite torn with many of these choices. 3.14, fibonacci, or i suggest a level of nerdiness (which I have certainly attained), but in the end I had to go with 42. It is, after all, THE ANSWER.

  107. mln84

    Another 42.

    I loved this (from above):

    Punkinpi said: “I love i.”

  108. I wanted to vote for e (2.718281828459045…)

  109. Crudely Wrottc

    I chose i while failing to imagine why 137 was absent. That’s OK. The answer will become apparent later.

  110. Crudely Wrott

    I chose i while failing to imagine why 137 was absent from the list. That’s OK. The answer will become apparent later.

  111. Tim G

    Perhaps its a good thing that 420 isn’t there.

  112. Thomas Siefert

    42, did not look further than that…. I will never know if 255 was there :-(

  113. Brian G

    I picked the answer to life, the universe and everything.

  114. Unspeakably Violent Jack

    I picked 24601 beecause it’s Sideshow Bob’s prisoner number!
    *Hangs head in shame*

  115. Olaf

    I went for i, since adding a single number to your real line gives you a whole new field which is algebraically complete! That’s actually kinda surprising if you think about it a little. Plus complex numbers are so invaluable in so many areas of mathematics and science.

    Pi is nice, but 3.14 is less exciting.

    I’m a bit annoyed that I sat trying to look for the interesting pattern in the sequence that turned out to be the Lost numbers: I assumed it would be something almost-obvious and interesting. I suppose the other literary references should have tipped me off.

  116. Nigel Depledge

    I chose 42, but 10.4 should have been there*.

    *Number of bases per turn of helix in B-DNA.

  117. The Yorkshire Sceptic

    I avoided the totally obvious and went straight for i. 😀

  118. i went for fibonacci as well. somebody up there in a previous comment mentioned music based on the sequence. another on of these is the song “lateralus” by tool.

    good geeky stuff :)

  119. Tara Dresbach

    Fibonacci sequence here, although I was tempted by both i and pi.

  120. I chose i. The only reason is how much I had to deal with i in my many university calculus classes.

    I was hoping for 0118 999 881 999 119 725….3.

  121. Troglodyte

    I voted for Fibonacci, because it’s awesomely elegant, but I wish 0 had been on that poll– not as 0, but as e^(i*pi) – 1. Talk about elegant; it’s one formula that joins the 5 most important numbers in math.

    Although serious business– e should have been on there instead of i!


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