Happy 2002 (2002!) from Cuba!

Teun A. van Dijk teun at HUM.UVA.NL
Wed Dec 26 12:11:34 UTC 2001

Dear friends,

This is to wish all of you a happy 2002, with the hope that each new
year will bring less things we need to analyze critically.

I particularly wish the best, first, to all those, and especially our
colleagues, who have been affected by the events of September 11 and the
war that followed it.

I also wish the best to our friends and colleagues in Argentina who are
passing through a particularly difficult economic period.

To end on a lighter note, I just realized that the coming year will be
one of those few years one can read also backwards (years that in
Spanish are called capicua I believe -- like a numerical palindrome-- I
don't know how they are called in English).

The last time was eleven years ago, in 1991, but before that it was 110
years ago: 1881, and so on (each 110 years) back until 1001.

How many did we have before 2002 and since the year 0?

Well, trivially 10 from 0 to 9. And 10 from 11 to 99. And 100 from 101
to 999, and 10 from 1001 to 1991, which makes 230. How many will we have
from 2002 until 9999? Hundred minus the 10 we already had from 1001 to
1999: 90.

How can we calculate this? Well, just take the number of digits of a
number or year, say n. If n is even then the number of numbers that can
be read backwards is 10 power n/2. And if n is uneven, then this is 10
power (n+1)/2. So since our dates between 1001 and 9999 have 4 digits,
the total number of numbers that can be read in both directions is 10
power 4/2 is 10 power 2 is 100.

I guess there are many more interesting things to be said about such
numbers, but I am not a mathematician, and these thoughts just came to
me on X-mas day on the beach while on vacation in Cuba (after some
lectures, e.g. on critical discourse analysis!) and enjoying the
tremendous caribbean hospitality and generousness of our Cuban

By the way these colleagues are *very* much interested in critical
discourse analysis. But since they have no currency that can pay for
books from outside of Cuba, they would be very grateful if you would
donate your last book(s) to their libraries, so that many colleagues and
students here can read your recent work. The most extensive and most
relevant library is that of the famous Institute of Literature and
Linguistics of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, directed by Prof. Nuria
Gregori. The address is: Avenida Salvador Allende 710, La Habana 10300.
Thanks for thinking of these colleagues in the coming weeks.

Take care


Teun A. van Dijk
University of Amsterdam
Program of Discourse Studies
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Dept. de Traducció i Filologia
La Rambla 32
08002 Barcelona, Spain

E-mail: teun at hum.uva.nl
Web-site: http://www.hum.uva.nl/teun

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