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Wednesday Is Pi Day

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the secant-tangent-cosine-sine dept.

Math 282

mrbluze points us to an AP writeup on the upcoming Pi Day — 3-14 (which some will observe at 1:59 pm). The article notes: "[T]he world record [for reciting the number Pi] belongs to Chao Lu, a Chinese chemistry student, who rattled off 67,890 digits over 24 hours in 2005. It took 26 video tapes to submit to Guinness," and mentions in passing a Japanese mental health counselor who last fall recited 100,000 digits, but did not choose to submit proof to the record book.

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282 comments

I live in Europe (5, Informative)

Zouden (232738) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313813)

So I won't get a Pi day, you insensitive clod!

Re:I live in Europe (5, Funny)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313901)

Sure you do. On the 31st of April :-)

Re:I live in Europe (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314129)

In Europe we can celebrate PI approximation day on 22 July (22/7).

Re:I live in Europe (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313929)

So I won't get a Pi day

Umm, why?

Re:I live in Europe (3, Informative)

Recurve Boy (936129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313957)

Because in most places the numeric form for dates is DD/MM/YY. Not MM/DD/YY.

Re:I live in Europe (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313985)

Because in most places the numeric form for dates is DD/MM/YY. Not MM/DD/YY.

Oh OK. I always use YYYY-MM-DD

Re:I live in Europe (2, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314079)

In that case you'll just have to wait until 3141-5-9

Re:I live in Europe (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314255)

Nope. ISO mandates that you need the leading zero on months and days.

Re:I live in Europe (5, Interesting)

pryonic (938155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314097)

I've never understood the logic behind the American way of writing dates. I'm not trying to troll here, it just seems illogical to me.

Here at my office we use both the European and International numerican dates forms, depending on the sitation:

European: DD/MM/YYYY
International: YYYY/MM/DD

As you can the units of time (days, months, years) ascend or descend in order e.g. in the European format you go from the smallest unit (days) through the midsized (months) up to the largest (years). In the International format the same descends from largest first.

But with the American format you start with the month, then go to the smallest, then to the largest. It just seems totally illogical to me, anyone know why it's done that way?

Re:I live in Europe (2, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314159)

The same reason an American gallon/pint is not the same as a British gallon and is certainly not metric. Americans just like to do things differently, there need not be any logical justification for it.

Re:I live in Europe (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314199)

Spitballing but like most time traditions they're either farming or railroad related in NA. In farming I'd bet you will care more for what month it is than the day of the month. E.g. February == not the month to plant crops.

Also, it pisses others off.

Frankly, I don't see the fuss. I rarely know what year it is, let alone month or day. Time's such a bore.

Tom

Re:I live in Europe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314251)

Um...

We had farming and railways in Europe well before they existed in the US, so I can't see that your dates are somehow derived from farming or railways. If they were, we should have them too.

Re:I live in Europe (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314261)

Well, it was formed from people who came from Europe. So if you want to point fingers you need only look into a mirror.

Mmm my first rational thought of 2002... yipee!

Tom

Re:I live in Europe (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314419)

Seemed to me to be more of an office-oriented thing. I would imagine the month at the head of the date would make filing large amounts of documents easier.

Re:I live in Europe (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314209)

The ISO date format is great for listing items by date. Thats basically the only time I use it.

I'm a Aussie so DD/MM/YYYY is what I normally use.

Re:I live in Europe (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314371)

The ISO format is arguably the most sensible, since it follows the ordering of number systems as well, and hence plays well with list sorting. Of course the European date DD/MM/YYYY has an internally ordered logic, but in a way it's as stupid as listing prices in cents.euros.

Re:I live in Europe (2, Insightful)

Raphael (18701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314607)

in a way it's as stupid as listing prices in cents.euros.

...or listing domain names as science.slashdot.org instead of the logical order org.slashdot.science.

Re:I live in Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314387)

Yeah, I'm an aussie too, but can't we all just order by significance?
Much easier if everyone just does
YYYY/MM/DD
Then it all just sorts nicely.

Re:I live in Europe (5, Informative)

Saib0t (204692) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314245)

But with the American format you start with the month, then go to the smallest, then to the largest. It just seems totally illogical to me, anyone know why it's done that way?
Probably because of the way they say the dates, "I have an appointment on March 14th" rather than "I have an appointment on the 14th of March".

As opposed to, says, french "J'ai un rendez-vous le 14 mars" or spanish "tengo una cita el 14 de marzo". Might be the reason...

Re:I live in Europe (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314337)

It's to do with the order of the platforms you stand on when you are awarded in some sporting event. The second is to the far left, the first is in the centre, and the third is to the far right.

Trust Americans to associate everything in life with sport.

*ducks*

Re:I live in Europe (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314611)

It's for cataloging purposes, as far as I understand. Something to do with sorting large databases by month first. [it's pretty stupid though.]

Re:I live in Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314677)

I think this comes from the way people say the dates:

in the US: Monday, march 12th, 2007, hence the format MM/DD/YYYY

in Europe: Monday the 12th of march, 2007, which gives DD/MM/YYYY

Re:I live in Europe (4, Funny)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314009)

Yeah but the basis is wrong. You can't compare hours, days and months to a base 10 system. Real pi day should be (3.14159..)*(365.25/10)=114 (rounding down for effect) = 11th of March. Hey that's yesterday. Happy belated real pi day!

Re:I live in Europe (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314687)

Interesting it didn't work out to the 15th of March- beware the Ides of March [wikipedia.org]!.

I wonder if you chose more precise (or less precise) numbers it would work out?

Re:I live in Europe (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314031)

I would suggest ISO date format but that sadly doesn't work. Including the year is mandatory, so you need to wait for the year 3141, but even then, your options are would require either month 59, week 59 or day 592. None of which are likely to happen without some cataclysmic event in the next 1134 years or so.

ISO date - ignore the year (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314289)

Lets see the date is 2007-03-14.
Ignore the year and you have 3-14
Not a huge stretch from taking the year off 3/14/2007.

Re:ISO date - ignore the year (2, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314317)

Yes, but that woulkd mean violating the standard. I'm an anal retentive, you insensitive jerk!

Look for a Pi Throw Near You! (2, Informative)

jon_anderson_ca (705052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314191)

On a serious note, check out the website of your local Engineering school... a bunch (here in Canada anyway) have a Pi Throw on March 14th for charity. You pay $10, somebody gets a cream pie in the face (or, often, they can pay $20 to redirect said pie back to you). The proceeds usually support something worthwhile.

Re:I live in Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314281)

Well that=s just your tough luck.

Re:I live in Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314433)

Well, off course you do!

On April/31, that is :)))

(it's a joke, cool off!)

Re: You forgot: european format is yyyy.mm.dd (2, Interesting)

muukalainen (969833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314475)

So you do get 3.14. Or, more preciselly, [2007.]3.14, but you can skip the first part.

To Celebrate.... (3, Insightful)

inklein (1003985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313815)

And of course, the best way to celebrate is to eat PIE!

Re:To Celebrate.... (5, Funny)

cabinetsoft (923481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313897)

And of course, the best way to celebrate is to eat PIE!

3.14159265*2.71828183

That would be the diet version, only 8 significant digits

Re:To Celebrate.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314665)

No, you forgot what makes it the REAL diet version:

3.14159265*sqrt(-1)*2.71828183

Imaginary PIE, the only kind with zero calories!

Re:To Celebrate.... (1)

sverrehu (22545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313943)

PIE? That would be approx. 3.141592654 * 2.718281828, which is 8.53973422235.
At least in a case insensitive world.

Re:To Celebrate.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314617)

Yesterday my girlfriend was complaining that she'll only have time to make one pie this year. I told her that as long as she makes it all the way round, she'll have two pi.

Re:To Celebrate.... (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314673)

the best way to celebrate is to eat PIE!

Except those pie aren't square; pie are round.

Perhaps a typo? (5, Funny)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313821)

...a Japanese mental health counselor who last fall recited 100,000 digits, but did not choose to submit proof to the record book.

Shouldn't that read "Mental health patient ?"

None the less, that is still very impressive. I wish I had a memory for that kind of thing. :)

Re:Perhaps a typo? (5, Funny)

neiljt (238527) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313849)

I wish I had a memory for that kind of thing

Me too. Then I could use it for something useful.

Re:Perhaps a typo? (2, Interesting)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313867)

I have a near photographic memory for every useless trivial fact I come across. But when it comes to actual usefull stuff like math, or anything I'd need for an exam, then I've to do real trouble to actually get it to stick. Sometime I think my brain hates me or something.

Re:Perhaps a typo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314101)

But when it comes to actual usefull stuff like math

Or spelling, it would seem.

Re:Perhaps a typo? (3, Informative)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314391)

You could try mind maps [wikipedia.org]. They are more visually oriented than traditional note-taking techniques. I often find I can photographically recall parts of my mind maps during exams.

Re:Perhaps a typo? (2, Funny)

fyonn (115426) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313955)

None the less, that is still very impressive. I wish I had a memory for that kind of thing

naah, reciting a milliopns digits of pi is easy. the trick is, not to begin at the beginning....

dave

Re:Perhaps a typo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314173)

Wow, that was clever (or I'm too dumb.)

Re:Perhaps a typo? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314447)

I think by "not begin at the beginning" he meant "begin at the beginning"

Re:Perhaps a typo? (1)

BigLug (411125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314581)

Erm .. no .. DON'T begin at the beginning and it's a HELL of a lot easier. Just start spitting out a million digits. You just claim it's a million digits from somewhere in the billion-digits-of-pi range ..

Perhaps this kind of counselor ;) (3, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314125)

Quoth Monty Python, "You know, there are many people in the country today who, through no fault of their own, are sane. Some of them were born sane. Some of them became sane later in their lives. It is up to people like you and me who are out of our tiny little minds to try and help these people overcome their sanity. You can start in small ways with ping-pong ball eyes and a funny voice and then you can paint half of your body red and the other half green and then you can jump up and down in a bowl of treacle going "squawk, squawk, squawk..." And then you can go "Neurhhh! Neurhhh!" and then you can roll around on the floor going "pting pting pting"..."

Well, it's one kind of counselling...

You mean .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18313831)

22/7 ?

You insensitive clod!

I am lucky... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18313881)

I live in rural Indiana. We have a whole pi MONTH!

US Centric Alert! (2, Insightful)

ovideon (634144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313905)

It's only actually 'Pi Day' for a limited number of people (Specifically, those in the United States [wikipedia.org]). The rest of the world uses little-endian (dd/mm/(yy)yy) or, as is more appropriate for us geeks, big-endian [ietf.org] (yyyy/mm/dd).

Obligatory quote (2, Funny)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313925)

Now I, even I, would celebrate
In rhymes inapt the great
Immortal Syracusan rivaled nevermore
Who in his wondrous law
Passed on before
Left men his guidance
How to circles mensurate

Continuing to 100000 or so is left as an exercise to the reader.

The joke is that in writing this out I have to remind myself, as a non-American English user, that "rivaled" is spelt like that, and to do that I have to recite the numeric value of pi up to that point...go figure

Re:Obligatory quote (3, Informative)

jacobw (975909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314243)

There is actually a word for this: piphilology [wikipedia.org], the art of coming up with mnemonics to remember pi. Like the poem in the parent post, these tend to be phrases or poems in which the number of letters in each word corresponds to a digit of pi.

One common mnemonic (which I've seen attributed to Isaac Asimov) is "How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!" If you want to get really fancy, the Wikipedia entry lists a full sonnet, in more-or-less iambic pentameter:
Now I defy a tenet gallantly
Of circle canon law: these integers
Importing circles' quotients are, we see,
Unwieldy long series of cockle burs
Put all together, get no clarity;
Mnemonics shan't describeth so reformed
Creating, with a grammercy plainly,
A sonnet liberated yet conformed.
Strangely, the queer'st rules I manipulate
Being followéd, do facilitate
Whimsical musings from geometric bard.
This poesy, unabashed as it's distressed,
Evolvéd coherent - a simple test,
Discov'ring poetry no numerals jarred.


Admittedly, it's not a very good sonnet, but, hey, what do you want?

To remember pi, just memorize this post! (2, Funny)

jacobw (975909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314325)

Now I make a reply involving my clever trick for rusty memories. Mnemonics usually challenge one; my own Slashdot post offers an easier path. You can memorize, and my account retrieves karma!

monopodal Monopoly. (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313961)

These people are really useful member of society, like people who can play monopoly with one foot.

Name that (probably inaccurate) quote.

Re:monopodal Monopoly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314301)

I lost my leg in a diving accident when I was quite young, but I can still play Monopoly.

Why does this make me a really useful member of society?

100000 digits? (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18313967)

If I put together all the digits I know by heart about anything at all, phone numbers, dates, train schedules, computer IPs, heck even application version numbers...

I don't think the total would be more than a thousand digits :-)

How do they do it?

Re:100000 digits? (1)

Sukhbir (961063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314011)

Exactly. Seems like kinda difficult when we have trouble remembering a single password!

Re:100000 digits? (4, Interesting)

fLiXUs (781299) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314137)

There are plenty of memory techniques. Didn't you know there is a world championship in remembering things? See for instance http://www.worldmemorychampionship.com/ [worldmemor...onship.com] or http://www.worldmemorychallenge.com/ [worldmemorychallenge.com].


If you want a tip, here's something a read in a book by a Norwegian memory world champion, Oddbjørn By:

  1. Assign each 2 digit number to a person and an action related to that person. The person has two names, so the first character of each name represent one of the digits.
  2. Now you can represent 4 digits with a person and an action. This will give you 4 with different first characters.
  3. Imagine locations on a known path.
  4. Assign a person doing an action at each location.
  5. Now you have 4 digits per location on your path... Just make a very long path and you'll have 1,000,000 digits (250,000 locations*) in no time!
  6. To recite the number, just traverse your path and look at the name of the person in each location, and the name of the person associated with the action.



*You probably want less locations, so you can visit the same one under different conditions. E.g. during day / night / rain / snow / heavy winds... we're down to 50,000 locations already!

Video tapes? Oooh , risky (4, Funny)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314017)

Can you image if he gets a mail from Guinness saying "Sorry , you missed the record by 10. Or at least we think you did but tape 26 got chewed by the machine at digit 54166. Bad luck son, try again next year and next time use Memorex!"

Re:Video tapes? Oooh , risky (1)

gunny01 (1022579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314163)

I think what will decide the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD war is which one can hold the longest recital of pi...........

Re:Video tapes? Oooh , risky (1)

pudro (983817) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314531)

That has already been decided. Blu-Ray / HD-DVD are 50 / 30 GB (max), respectively, for all useful comparisons. No commercially significant players will support anything beyond double-layers. (Just like DVD can go beyond double-layered, but no commercially significant player supports it.)

Re:Video tapes? Oooh , risky (2, Funny)

psxman (925240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314519)

Bah, he shouldn't have bothered sending videos at all! He should've just sent a plaintext transcript on a CD.

1337 (5, Interesting)

HetMes (1074585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314083)

Following the discussion about the date/time format, in continental Europe we proud ourselves in experiencing 13-3-7, or 1337...

Re:1337 (1)

moogs (1003361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314417)

I had to switch when I first came to the US to complete my degree (well, three months ago) - but I'm sorta used to it. And being able to celebrate Pi-day is so cool, i bought a Pi-day T-Shirt!! I'm gonna wear it proudly on Wednesday :)

Re:1337 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314443)

In Germany we follow rules (we of course made ourself). One of these rules is DIN 5008 which says that one is not allowed to write months or years as single digits. Months have to be two digits, years can either be two or four digits. 13-3-7 is therefore invalid.

Re:1337 (4, Funny)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314465)

I've never used just 7 to denote the year 2007. However, Europeans can experience 13:37ness every day thanks to our 24-hour clock.

He was quoted saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314115)

..."One day I shall know them all. I mean, how many more could it be, right?"

1:59 pm? (2, Funny)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314131)

which some will observe at 1:59pm

It can also be observed at 3:49 a.m., which is then 0.159 of a day; it's also much easier to have a minute's respectful silence at 3:49 am ;)

Re:1:59 pm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314303)

You'd probably be the one who broke the silence by snoring.

on another note.. (5, Funny)

mrsym0r (1068436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314165)

I feel it's only appropriate to add that march 14th is also international steak and blowjob day [steakandbjday.com]

This deep down? (2, Funny)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314185)

... in the comments? I mean, seriously, who cares about Pi when you can get a steak AND a blow job (and if you're good, at the same time?)

Only on slashdot (2, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314485)

does steak and a blowjob day get buried when talking about March 14th. Of course, that's probably because most people here won't be celebrating.

BBC article say other numbers (1)

lanc (762334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314169)

See link [bbc.co.uk], but who am I to question slashdot?

They say:
"Akira Haraguchi, 59, managed to recite the number's first 83,431 decimal places, almost doubling the previous record held by another Japanese."

Do they really recite the digits of pi? (2, Interesting)

jmp (84073) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314181)

I ask because when I was a child, I remember reading about the "reciting digits of pi" record in the family Guinness Book of Records. It had a photo of the then record-holder, standing in front of a chalk board, upon which was written "3.142857142857142857142857..."

It's not hard to recite the decimal expansion of 22/7.

Probably. (1)

idugcoal (965425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314429)

As for the blackboard, it's probably just there for the sake of the photograph. A picture of someone reciting pi probably wouldn't be too remarkable.

Re:Do they really recite the digits of pi? (1)

akudewan (1007693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314493)

It's not hard to recite the decimal expansion of 22/7.
Note: pi is not the expansion of 22/7, its "approximately" 22/7.
The numerical value of truncated to 50 decimal places is: 3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510
Source: Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

you FAIL it (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314259)

mod points and a change 7o that has lost Is ingesting a dead man walking. also dead, its 'You see, even here, but what is and enjoy all the

Let people make up their mind! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314451)

That pi is 3.14~ is a theory, not a fact! There is an equally valid theory that pi is in fact intelligently designed to be 3! Get this atheist bias out of the education system!

( :P )

A true pi fan would celebrate pi... (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314557)

in the first hours of the day at 01:59:26 by drinking 53 beers with 5 strippers, 8 friends and the volume turned up to "9" while watching the movie "SE7EN"

pi? e! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18314565)

those who celebrate pi are just showing their inferior education :-)

Ah, the evolution of math geekiness... (2, Informative)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18314623)

I recall a certain rivalry over memorizing digits of pi back in high school. Everyone was around the 2-3 hundred mark when one guy threw down the gauntlet - 500 digits. Well, I put the memorization effort into overdrive and reached about 2,500 before being "crowned" the undisputed school champ. (Yay!)

Interestingly, that fall in my frosh year at university, reciting pi turned up as a big contest among the first year math students. 2,500 was enough to take the crown at university also.

There is actually a very efficient way of memorizing strings of random digits one you get the hang of it - the key is groups of 5. The technique works well enough that 25 years later I still remember 500 digits. And the workout I gave my memory skills serves me well today still. Strings of digits are simple - tell me your phone number just once, etc.

100,000 - now that's impressive. I can tell you from experience, that memory will serve him well in chemistry, especially organic. More power to him!
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