Mathematicians are fond of prime numbers. Infinitely numerous yet utterly unique, they play an integral role in number theory and a baffling one in such longstanding mysteries as Goldbach’s conjecture. Nature is partial to primes, as well, as demonstrated by the dramatic 13- and 17-year life cycles of periodic cicadas.
It makes sense that an animal might hid away in the ground while it's maturing, but 17 years is a long, seemingly random amount of time. But it's not like cicadas picked a number out of a hat and were stuck with it. There's a something specific about that number, and numberphile is sussing it out.
After a 17-year dormancy period, the U.S. East Coast is about to be overrun by over 30 billion cicadas. This preview for a documentary-in-the-making will show you what to expect — including a remarkable time-lapse of cicadas breaking through their exoskeletons.
This week's crowdfunding takes us to a counter-Earth, and a never-before-translated story from François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters' Les Cités obscures. You can also back a documentary about cicadas, a comic starring a young gay superhero, or a book about Jack Kirby collected by his son.
Staten Island! Riverdale! The Brood II cicadas of the East Coast are not something to anticipate anymore; they're something crawling out of the ground and shedding their skins all over the map. Exclamation points are out on cicadamania.com and cicadas.info, while magicicada.org keeps soberly logging the sightings,…
No, really. Take a wild guess how many.
Have you ever wished to dress as an etymologically (and entomologically) incorrect Biblical plague? Well, Japanese idol, blogger, and cosplayer Shoko "Shokotan" Nakagawa — who considers herself a molted carapace connoisseur — recently revealed her ambitious cicada shell facial fashion. This particular look blends just…
Cicadas incubate underground for long years. They emerge every 13 or 17 years to mate and make annoying noises when people are trying to sleep. Both 13 and 17 are prime numbers. What is it that makes cicadas come out during these years?
If you're one of those Harold Camping superfans who've waited your whole life for an Old Testament plague, might I suggest moving to Nashville? A fellow who works there recently filmed a solid six stories of them. Warning: video's loud.