Forty-Seven Klingons Do Not a Writer Make

by Daniel Radosh   

People of a certain bent often find it amusing to choose a random number and invest it with a deep but mysterious significance; these peopleTalk about Trek! like to celebrate the number's appearances in everyday life as proof of its potency. For Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fans, it's 42. For Discordians, it's 23.

When "Star Trek" fans began to claim that their favorite show featured an excessive number of 47s it sounded like just another case of nerd numerology. But the evidence kept stacking up, especially in episodes of The Next Generation: The shields will overload in 47 seconds. The ship is 4.7 million kilometers from the perimeter of the nebula. Stephen Hawking wins the poker hand with four sevens.

In January, in a letter to a fan, Star Trek producer Brannon Braga confirmed that the 47s were intentional. TNG writer Joe Menosky had infected the entire staff with his theory that "all numbers equal 47," a conjecture he'd picked up at his alma mater, Pomona College.

In other words, the 47 phenomenon is just nerd numerology. Only for once, the biggest nerds aren't the "Trek" fans, but the supposedly well-adjusted people behind the scenes.   </end>

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