Someone I know well has reached the exalted age of 70. I wondered what this number might mean. So, I looked it up on the Internet, the ultimate source for all kinds of useful information. This is what I found.
- 70 (seventy) is the natural number following 69 and preceding 71.
That didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.
In mathematics, 70 is:
- a sphenic number because it factors as 3 distinct primes
- a Pell number
- the seventh pentagonal number
- the fourth triskaidecagonal number
- the fifth pentatope number
- a central binomial coefficient (since 70 is the number of ways to choose 4 objects out of 8 if order does not matter)
- the smallest weird number (a natural number that is abundant but not semiperfect)
- a palindromic number
- a Harshad number
- an Erdős–Woods number (since it is possible to find sequences of 70 consecutive integers such that each inner member shares a factor with either the first or the last member)
- 70 squared is the sum of the first 24 squares starting from 1 (which relates to the Leech lattice and thus string theory)
I didn’t understand any of that. I hate math.
- In science, 70 is the atomic number of ytterbium, a lanthanide
- In astronomy, Messier object M70 is a magnitude 9.0 globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius.
I didn’t understand any of that either. I hate science.
- In history, the 70 Years War lasted from 1572 to 1642.
That is a long time, but I don’t see its relevance. And I thought I liked history.
In the Bible:
- 70 Hebrews went down to Egypt to begin the exile (Genesis 46:27).
- There are names representing 70 nations in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10).
- There were 70 men in the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of ancient Israel.
- Moses assembled 70 elders by God’s command in the desert (Numbers 11:16-30).
- Psalm 90:10 allots three score and ten (70) years for a man’s life, and the Mishnah says that one who survives that age is “strong.”
- 70 Jewish elders translated the Old Testament into Greek.
- In Luke 10:1-24, Jesus sent 70 of His followers out to preach.
- In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus told Peter to forgive people 70 times 7 times.
That might be relevant, especially the last one.
- Several languages do not have a specific word for 70; for example, French uses “soixante-dix” (sixty-ten) and Danish says “halvfjerdsindstyve” (three and a half score).
- In law, some copyrights expire after 70 years.
- In Olympic archery, the targets are 70 meters from the archers.
- There are 70 laps in the Canadian Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix.
- In Far Eastern cultures such as of China, Japan, and Korea, 70 years old is called “the Rare Age of the Olden Times.”
The East truly is inscrutable. I don’t know if that is insulting or not.
- In Islamic tradition, 70 is hyperbole for “an infinite amount.”
That is definitely insulting. And mean.