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WORLD OF FIGURES: Do twins always have the same birthday?

Saturday August 26 2017

Margaret Wangeci is wondering whether twins

Margaret Wangeci is wondering whether twins always share a birthday. One might think it’s a trivial question until you read what she has in mind. PHOTO | FILE AFP

By MUNGAI KIHANYA
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Margaret Wangeci is wondering whether twins always share a birthday. One might think it’s a trivial question until you read what she has in mind. She writes: “A pregnant woman gave birth to two babies; the first one came out at 11.54 pm of December 31, 2016, the second one at 12.03 am of January 1, 2017. (1) Are they twins? (2) Are they age mates? (3) Which year will they claim? (4) On which date will they celebrate their birthday?”

The answer to the first question is yes. They are twins because they are products of the same pregnancy. But they are not the same age nor do they share a birthday.

As explained a few months ago, a day begins at midnight and so the birthday of the first twin is December 31 while that of the second one is January 1. This might become a challenge, for example, when registering in school.

If the rules are applied properly, the first twin will register for primary school in 2023 while the second one will have to wait until 2024! This is because a child must be at least six years of age to be registered.

However, considering how hectic things are during baby delivery, it is unlikely that the personnel assisting the mother will have the time to record the first birth before getting started on the second one. Thus, in real practical terms, the two births will most likely be recorded at around 12:30 am on January 1, 2017. That date will become the joint official birthday of the twins. 

 

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After reading last week’s article about fencing a plot of land, Simon Orucho asked me whether I was certain about the number of poles needed to go round a square plot measuring 200ft by 200ft. If they are placed 10ft apart, he expected the number to be 79 and not the 80 that I stated.

In response, I invited him to work out the number of poles that would be required to fence a single, straight line boundary measuring 800ft with the same 10ft spacing. He got the correct answer: 81.

When fencing an open fence (that is, one that does not fully enclose the plot of land) you will need one extra pole to mark the end of the boundary. But when it is a closed fence, the first pole doubles up as the last one as well. So, instead of 81, we need only 80.

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Now that we are done with the 2017 general election, it is important for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to announce when the next one will be held. As I have explained here many times, the correct date should be August 17, 2021 (not 2022!)

If we really want a General Election in 2022, then we must amend the Constitution to read “first Tuesday in August after every five years” instead of the current “first Tuesday in August in every fifth year”.

 

www.figures.co.ke; Twitter: @mungaikihanya