Fourth Estate

National Pi Day? Congress makes it official

National Pi Day? Congress makes it official Take a look at an interesting article we found.

Is Albert Einstein robot too human? Everything’s relative

Is Albert Einstein robot too human? Everything’s relative Times Online Take a look at an interesting article we found.

Square Root Day: Math Fans Celebrate 3/3/09

Square Root Day: Math Fans Celebrate 3/3/09 Huffington Post Take a look at an interesting article we found.

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                                                                                                                          I've gone to my farm in Kentucky for the weekend. It's a great place to relax, do a little hard physical labor, and forget about the rest of the world. If you don't have such a place, I highly suggest you get one.

In the meantime, here's a little something that I found for you to read on Albert Einstein's birthday that's no Pi in the sky story.

See you on Monday.

J. Peterman

From: The San Francisco Chronicle



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10 Members’ Opinions
March 14, 2009 12:36 AM
10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-5 zenvelo said...

I'm glad to see pi-day's gone wide spread, instead of a quirk that a few of us more math aware types celebrate.  My fifth grader and seventh grader each spread the word at school.

We won't be up at 1:59 though; 3.14 is close enough for me!

March 14, 2009 3:02 AM
1014 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-reviewFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 karma swim swami said...

One wonders why there isn't an e day in honor of Euler's number (e could be rounded to commemorated on February 7). Pi is an interesting phenomenon, but e has ramificatons deeply into mathematics.

March 14, 2009 8:31 AM
1198 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Doc Nolan said...

In junior high we used to memorize pi (I wasn't the champion), but I can still do 3.14159265358979... sucks to know some guy memorized it to 42,000 places.  Our poor math teacher wanted to move on from pi, but the concept of a number that could be approximated but never defined mesmerized us.  Pi however came in close behind the idea of infinity (also wild!)

Again in junior high, I once applied the (above) accuracy to the circumference of the Earth and discovered that addding another place only increased my estimate by a fraction of an inch.  At that point I moved on. 

By big disillusion with math came when I discovered (after days of work) that a quadratic equation yielded FOUR answers: two of them correct (yep, TWO) AND two of them incorrect.  I decided math sucked and moved on.... only occassionally have I ever used algebra (man I love iteration and successive approximation), and I only needed to master some calculus once.  That was enough integration to calculate the area under some curves for a business course.  (Of course the precision of calculation was positively DWARFED by orders of magnitude when it came to the input variables and data -- but math types don't seem to care about that -- way too practical). 

Now, when are we going to move on to the really cool math: trig?  My best friend and I used THAT to caculate the height of the smokestack behind our high school!  (He recently pointed out that we could have gotten more accurate results by simply measuring the height of ten courses of bricks, obtaining an average, and then counting the height of the stack in bricks and multiplying.... Hmmmmm....

Again, beyond pi, was I the only one who wondered (when studying simultaneous equations): 'What if I don't care where the train moving west at 20 mph and the train moving east at 50 mph meet?'  And in the same train (pun intended), 'How often do I travel by train, and why would I care when another train would pass us going the other way?'  I think it's obvious that math and I soon parted (I guess shortly after the two trains did....)

March 14, 2009 8:34 AM
1198 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Doc Nolan said...

Another number that used to drive me nuts was " i ", the so-called imaginary number (the square root of negative one).  Every time I've ever tried to determine the value of " i " using my (various and sundry) pocket calculators, they were proved defective.... they simply refused to give me a result.  So much for Silicon Valley folks being omniscient!

March 14, 2009 9:42 AM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...

OK, I will yield to Doc and the rest of you  ( and probably my dogs ) on math knowledge, but check this guy out. I went looking for How I like adrink alcoholic of course and he showed up.


I expect it is mrely legend, but a friend swears he knew a guy who "had" just three numbers: one, two, and more than two. Like  a phrase book, it will get you farther than you'd first guess.

March 14, 2009 12:10 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Peter Lake said...

I do wish that I had expended more effort toward developing a better working relationship and appreciation of numbers. To harness the power of their formulas that lie just beneath the surface of all things that have been made by mankind because they empowered the makers. I think I would have become an architect, I think...
Anyroads..... a standing "O"vation to all of the multi-talented people of the "EyE".

Peace out.

March 14, 2009 12:33 PM
10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Stoney said...

A thin connection but better than calm winds described as having direction.

I was asked by a friend to go to an address and video someone named Charles executing a demonstration of dog training.

Charles proved to be an eleven year old, sixth grader who had trouble tearing himself away from Walter Isaacson's biography of Einstein. A little odd but he wasted no time in pointing out that reading nonfiction, math and physics were his particular interests. No false modesty.

He was a sturdy, blond kid who, with his blue oxford button down shirt, khaki pants and brown loafers, could have been dropped into my sixth grade class of 1956 where he would have been bored to tears listening to our teacher's awkward reading of Jim Kjelgaard's gem of adolescent "literature," BIG RED.

He was a public school student tutored as well at home and by his grandparents- both teachers, Had little exposure to TV, had not read Harry Potter (even though he was wearing Harry's eyeglasses,) and wouldn't be caught dead with white wires connected to his ears.

All of that during one just right handshake.

It seemed to me a little strange that such an intellectual rocket ship had not advanced at least one grade, if not several, ahead of his age group.

I imagine that the blank look that always comes over me in situations like that was enough to tell him he wasn't in the company of a peer.

The dog demo went like this: With a handful of freeze dried liver treats, he called the dog, a shepherd-setter-coyote mutt named Trixie. It came. He asked it to sit and stay. It did. He tentatively offered the treats and the dog, with care and in no hurry, nibbled them one by one from his palm. That was it. One minute.

The dog while it didn't look like it was dying to master Turbo-Tax, sat ready to be asked for more but wasn't.

By the time I got home, uploaded the video and sent it off, It had occurred to me that the significance of the deal might have been that it was the boy who had learned or overcome something and that was it. He had been terrified of dogs.

So in order of significance: I admired that he had got the better of his fear; his confident handshake; his snappy fifties get-up and then... all of that smart stuff.

March 14, 2009 1:50 PM
1046 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 Willie Trask said...

Thanks, Stoney,


I guess your new friend was a good example of those unlikely teachers we meet all over the place. Poor, indeed, is the student who can't learn SOMETHING from just about anybody.

 I was in a religious discussion with a batch of smart folks. They were mostly politically liberal and religiously progressive ( parse that as you will) but just a little bit smug in their lack of literalism. A newcomer to that discussion ( but an old acquaintance of mine) said something about how angels and New Testament references to them were more a product of the prevailing belief system than of any profound religious faith. I wanted to make the point that human beings are ALWAYS trying to assume their most recent decisions and discoveries are final.  Someone pointed out that human understanding falls INFINITELY short of  the vastness of what we seek to understand.

And the newcomer- a professor of relatively recent history, but a well read lover of theology, looked up as if  someone had said the most obvious thing in the world. His thirst for knowledge was grounded in the humble notion that even when we think we understand something, there are layers and layers we don't, and that there is far more that we don't even  know enough about to think we understand . What he meant and I am having a hard time conveying, is that our current  knowledge of the universe will one day be considered about as advanced and sophisticated as the idea that angels have an active role in the workings and daily ocurrences   of our world.


And the kid with the dog? What  a perfect metaphor: amazingly bright, completely unaware, and still struggling with fear even in the midst of  his brilliance.


March 14, 2009 2:29 PM
Com-100Com-300Com-500First-comHr-1Hr-5 Georgia said...

What John, Stoney, and Willie said. And thank God and all angels for them.

Prime Web

What exactly was the "new math"?

What exactly was the "new math"? Take a look at an interesting article we found.

What is Pi?

What is Pi? Take a look at an interesting article we found.

Albert Einstein Online

Albert Einstein Online Take a look at an interesting article we found.

Honor Roll

still thinking about today...

Yesterday's Discussion

The parade is the culmination of the Lotus Lantern festival celebrating the birth of the Buddha; the construction of such lanterns dates to the Silla kingdom (BC 57 - AD 935), one of the ancient founding dynasties of Korea.


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