Monday, January 11, 2010

Published 01/11/10 at 10:01 AM

Today's date is special. It's a palindrome. A palindrome is something which reads the same both forward AND backward. There are palindromic words (civic, radar, level), phrases (Live Evil), quotations (“Madam, I'm Adam”), names (Lon Nol, a Prime Minister of Cambodia), and numbers (48284), and dates.

Historians have found Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and Sanskrit palindromes. Archeological excavations of Herculaneum, Italy, which was destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., discovered a palindrome that is also a word square that can be read in four different ways--horizontally or vertically from either top left to bottom right or bottom right to top left.

You can even find palindromes in music. Symphony No. 47 in G by Joseph Haydn is nicknamed the Palindrome. The piece goes forward twice and backwards twice and arrives at the same place in the end. Igor Stravinsky's composition The Owl and the Pussy Cat is also a palindrome, as is "Bob", a song by Weird Al done completely in palindromes:


  1. Crystal remarked on twitter that today was a palindrome, and I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how that could be. I'm glad you explained it. (My problem was that I was including the "20" and I had no idea what today's date was.)

  2. Madam, I'm Adam.
    A man, a plan, a canal, panama.
    Able was I, ere I saw Elba (attributed to Napoleon).