March 14th, 2011


Happy Pi Day

3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 8...

For some peoples around the world, March 14th is "Pi Day", as they display the month-day as 3/14, or I suppose to be more mathematically correct, 3.14 . (grin) For much of the world, 14 March is 14.3.2011, so it doesn't make a lot of sense. However, no one has ever accused Americans of not being biased about the way they do things.

Above is pi given to 31 decimal places -- 31 3.1 get it? -- which was featured on NPR's Morning Edition with a musical composition based on assigning these digits to both notes and chords. The result is oddly musical:

The link to the story on NPR this morning is here.

By the way, this is not to be confused with "The Pi Song", which is a variation on the song "American Pie" which itself had nothing to do with non-terminating non-repeating irrational numbers. I shan't put a link to that song, because after I viewed one version on YouTube, my system slowed to a crawl and Task Manager report that setup.exe was busy doing something, and I clearly hadn't intended to install anything, so killed it and got my computer back. Stupid bastards.

Anyway, have some numbers.

Dr. Phil


Japan - March 2011

I've been thinking of things to write on, not so much to pile onto comments on the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan, but as a placeholder to remind me later that this was the weekend.

However, before we get too far, I thought I'd share this video, posted by maryrobinette Mary Robinette Kowal on Facebook. It's about six minutes long and shows the tsunami waters racing into a town. Right at the beginning there's a white minivan turning the corner and racing ahead of the flood -- I don't know if they managed to get to high ground or not. Thankfully I did not notice any people in any of the other vehicles.

We like to think of ourselves as living in a modern technological age. Sure, we deal with storms and such, often treating them as inconveniences to our normally scheduled days. But the speed and power of natural events such as happened along the coast of Japan is in a whole different league. This is not Hollywood special effects wizardry in Yet Another Disaster Epic. This is real. And though six minutes isn't all that long, it's much longer than the snippets which have been endlessly played and replayed on CNN, Weather Channel and the various networks.

By the time you get to the end of this video, we are in a different territory in terms of the level of destruction and what kinds of things are floating by in a rush. There is an awesomeness and indeed a majesty of witnessing this sort of power -- especially, I'm afraid to admit, from the safety of a comfortable office half a world away.

I am sorry that unfortunately I don't have any references for this link. I don't know the town or who shot it or what will happen to these people. But I am grateful that this person did take the time and risk to document this, without commentary, for us to see.

Dr. Phil