## Friday 5 July 2024

### counting sheep

I do this every day, several times a day.  But I certainly do not do it yan tan tethera methera pimp . . . because no spik Brythonic. Then again, there is never a circumstance in which I wag my finger going one two thr for fiv six sev ate nin ten . . .

There was a shock of recognition when I found myself watching The Real (Weird) Way We See Numbers 16m on YT. Dunno how I've missed this Be Smart channel of Dr Joe Hanson because the fellow has 5 million subscribers and it should be my jam. That is almost exact 1 million times more than there are subscribers to The Blob. Hanson lays out the idea that we absorb a gestalt insta-clock for 1, 2, 3 probably 4, possibly 5 items but beyond that we are reduced to counting. We know, for example, that the plate with three buns is more fattening than the plate with one bun. Indeed, herrings and magpies can many manage that life skill as well as we can.

When it comes to larger numbers, you need a much bigger difference to be confident about which plate is the plate-of-power. 4 petit-fours vs 6 ditto? no problem. But 40 M&Ms vs 60 M&Ms? that is a punt that at least some of us will fluff.

Mais revenons à nos moutons . . .  if I'm lucky, the to-be-counted sheep are gathered in a shady corner burping up their cud for another go round. They like to hang out together with particular pals / rellies closer than their frenemies. Depending on the scatter, I do something like

• 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 = 15
• (4 + 2) + (4 + 4) + 1 = 15
• (3 + 4) + (4 + 4) = 15
• (2 + 4) + (3 + 4) + 1 . . . where is she? I bet she's gone all betty-no-pals AGAIN behind the gorse clump . . . + 1 = 15

(2 + 3) + 5 + (3 + 2) [✓] And, yes, I do count twice - especially if I get 15 the first time