14
Mar
10

Happy pi day

William the Coroner celebrates by making a pie; I’m likely to celebrate by ordering a pizza.  Greg Mankiw notes that MIT sends out their undergraduate admissions at 3-14 1:59.  Alan dissents.

Pi is a non-repeating decimal, which is a sufficient excuse to link to these posts on Andrew Sullivan’s blog.  Kudos to the second responding reader in the latter post for citing Cantor; unfortunately, s/h/it’s wrong about the naturals and the rationals having different cardinality.

Pi day also gives me an excuse to write about the remarkable tale of Indiana House Bill #246, which (in 1897) attempted to legislate the value of pi as part of a great demonstration of mathematical crankdom.  This tale is not remarkable in that Indiana’s representatives were ignorant above and beyond the call of duty (most elected representatives are), or in that those representatives were easily manipulated by a bugfuck-nuts special interest (again, we have yet to escape this tendency).  It is stunning in that Indiana’s state Senators were quickly set right by an honest-to-balls domain expert and swiftly did the right thing.  That’s about as commonplace as Tunguska events.

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