2 Things I’ve been thinking about

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2 Things I’ve been thinking about

I’ve been a little absent from this blog lately, with Minnie and guests writing all the posts. (And more guest posts coming soon! Actually, 1 tomorrow…)

Besides working, I have been thinking about things.

Things like…

1. People who don’t like ice in their drinks

How is it, having been with Minnie for around 8 years, I’ve only recently learned that she doesn’t like ice in a glass of water. I’m amazed that this is both a thing, and that she has been doing it wrong for so long. Sometimes I think I may be living in the Truman Show.

2. Pi—3.14159265358979323846264338327950…

Pi—this comes up a bit, and with it, the general hugeness of numbers. Do you know that with knowing pi to only 32 decimal places (as shown above)—and having a very accurate measurement of the diameter of the Milky Way (the galaxy, not the chocolate bar), you could measure its circumference to an accuracy of 1 atom? Indeed, and there is even a mnemonic to help you remember this, in case you find yourself in some kind of zombie apocalypse situation where all pi-calculating technology has been lost, and you need to cut the right length of ribbon to wrap around the galaxy:

Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling

In mystic force, and magic spelling

Celestial sprites elucidate

All my own striving can’t relate

Or locate they who can cogitate

And so finally terminate.

Finis.

If you can remember this little poem, then write out the number of letters in each word, you have pi to 31 decimal places… (and the next number is 0, so you’ll just have to remember that bit yourself… as there are no zero-letter words… Except for this one: )

The thing people tend to forget—or not understand in the first place—is that every decimal place you add increases the accuracy by 1000%.

NASA only use pi to 15 decimal places to calculate interplanetary flight.

Actually, for most purposes, this shorter mnemonic will do:

How I wish I could calculate pi…
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By | 2017-05-19T08:20:27+00:00 March 31st, 2016|Awesome, Personal|5 Comments

About the Author:

Writer, editor, musician, plain English evangelist, content ninja for hire, and general web guy, Rory does lots of things, when he has time...

5 Comments

  1. Kevin Kim (@bighominid) March 31, 2016 at 2.25pm - Reply

    re: not liking ice in drinks

    Visit Europe, if you haven’t already, and you’ll meet millions of folks who have all been culturally conditioned to think the way Minnie does. “Ice is an American thing!” they’ll tell you.

    re: your mnemonic

    I realize I’m being a pedantic bastard, but your mnemonic includes a rounding error: if you stop pi at the sixth decimal place, the number must be rounded to 3 because the following number is a 6. Aside from that bit of nitpicking, though, I think your mnemonic is awesome and will one day rule 99.99999% of the ribbon-bounded galaxy.

    Math exercise: our galaxy is said to be about 100,000 light years across, and it rotates once approximately every 250 million years. How fast is that outermost edge going, in either mph or km/h?

    • Rory March 31, 2016 at 3.42pm - Reply

      Good point about the rounding!

      I wish it was my mnemonic, but, no… Some unknown clever person invented it.

      And the ice thing… Perhaps makes sense for people in cold climates… But they’re still wrong.

      (Oh, and I’ve gone back and uncapitalised all my pis. Hmmmn, ‘pis’, that’s problematic…)

      The maths problem? Fraggle Rock. I’ll have to think about that. A guess would be: very very very very fast.

  2. Kevin Kim (@bighominid) March 31, 2016 at 2.27pm - Reply

    Agh—I see that your commenting software deletes hard returns. My kingdom for decent line spacing!

  3. Minnie March 31, 2016 at 4.23pm - Reply

    Well, I was amazed that you were amazed about the ice thing.

    (See, you never listen to a word I say.)

    I just don’t understand what it’s for… makes every other taste fade into a cold headache.

  4. Lorien April 2, 2016 at 12.00am - Reply

    I’m with Minnie on this one. I find that ice dilutes the flavor of drinks, makes them too cold and the ice itself always seems to smell funny (I’ve experienced this out and about, in other countries and at other people’s houses – so I can assure you it’s not just my fridge!) 🙂

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