Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's about as repetitive as you can get

For some people, July 22 is a day to be celebrated!

But why's that, James? What's so special about July 22? Uh... let's see... it's the seventh month, 22nd day, 7-22, it's a Thursday... there's nothing spectacular...

No no no, think of the INTERNATIONAL date system.

Well, I don't know how the rest of the world does it, but in America, I usually take my date to--

URGGGGHHHH YOU IDIOT.  In America, we put the month first, then the day, e.g. 7/22; in other places, such as Europe, it's the other way around, i.e. 22/7 (notice, if you will, the correct usage of e.g. and i.e.), which is--

OH I KNOW! That's pi!

Well... not exactly... it's a [bad] approximation of pi.  Let's compare actual pi to the approximation (or at least what I remember of the actual pi)

A quick study of the second number, generated by 22/7, will show that it is a repeating decimal, repeating 142857 over and over and over and over and...

Notice, however, I said that this is a day to be celebrated by some people, i.e. math-appreciating people/nerds.  I celebrate it merely because it's cool. (OK, OK, it's cool in MY opinion).  I don't like 22/7 as an approximation of pi, though, but to this day, it remains a simple approximation useful in quick and dirty simple calculations involving the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter... in fractions.  The reason I don't like it is because it is just a repeating decimal, taking advantage of the fact that anything over 7 would produce 142857 or any rotation of that repeating decimal (142857, 428571, 285714, 857142, etc.)

I guess it's also the only Pi Day available in Europe.  March 14 (14/3) wouldn't be exactly right...

Let's now look forward to the REAL PI DAY, 3/14/15.  Hopefully, I'm still alive and well.

What was that all about?

I thank everyone who took the time to read my first post and complimented it.  I thought that would be the best way to introduce myself to the blogging world.  It included many aspects of myself and my interests in the whole thing, from linguistics to technology, from science to music, from mythology to Latin.  I felt that I was sort of inspired, so to speak, by Douglas Adams, the author of the famous The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (if you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it) and its sequels (except the 6th book).

I regret to inform all who enjoyed the first post that my future posts will not necessarily be like that, though I might make another similar to it, if I feel like it. It's arbitrary. Totally arbitrary.  (I will sorely miss having Mr. Doherty as my calc teacher)

This blog's purpose is hitherto not set in stone, but I suppose it will be a sort of repository where I can set down my thoughts and feelings and share them to whomever cares, which, at the moment, appears to be about 3 or 4 people.  Quidquid.

This week:
  • StarCraft II comes out.  I have been playing the beta and it is SOOOOO good.  I wish I could actually buy it, though.  Blizzard seems to have shut down the beta and here I am, stuck with a defunct copy that can't do anything at all, not even view my own replays.
  • I've been rehearsing in a miniature ensemble for a musical: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  It is played, sung, acted, danced, produced, etc. by teens, but it is amazing.  The quality is astounding and virtually professional.  I highly recommend attending one of the many performances we'll be having this summer.
  • I am not going to the National Junior Classical League Convention next week in Fargo, ND.  All over Facebook, I see people with statuses about the convention (especially Henry Schott's and Amber Houston's).  Everytime (that should be a word. I'm making it a word now) I see their statuses, I instantly feel like I'm about to cry.  Nationals had been extremely fun the last two times I went, and the thought that my last chance to participate in Nationals as a JCLer is gone is crushing.
Not such a great week thus far, but I think things will be looking up really soon.  I'm on my way to college and am looking forward to it!!

Well, this seems to have been a pretty lame blog post.  I will be taking suggestions on what to rant about for the next 239581 years.  Meanwhile, I'll be thinking of something...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Arbitrary Musing the First

On July 21, 2010, Arbitrary Musing, unknowingly "the First" but nevertheless dubbed thus, was born.

Arbitrary Musing was born of two parents, of course, as most creatures were, in a very unlikely event that occurred "somewhere between gastrulation and meiosis II," according to a biologist from the University of Flibbertigibbet.

His father was Arbitror A. Arbitratus, and his mother was one of the nine muses. No one knows which because they all look the same anyway. Or at least that's what Zeus claims. It didn't save him from a fate of a night on the couch as decreed by Hera, though.

No one knows how the two met, but when they did, the craziest of things began to happen, including the inexplicable process of the birth of Arbitrary Musing. Many historians and biologists have teamed up to formulate an explanation, but all have failed and they resorted to enlisting the help of mathematicians and physicians. They all said the same thing, uncannily verbatim: "figuring that out would be like figuring out the Grand Unified Theory of the Universe." In they end, they all gave up, had a few drinks, composed Vogon poetry, and conceived a ridiculous idea called "the Matrix," which all but the mathematicians considered a bad joke.

The union of Arbitror and the muse was recorded but mistranslated as "Random Music," since the translation of Xhosa into Srpski was a field in its infancy at the time. It inspired a new musicological field, starting with Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, going on through Schoenberg's twelve-tone serialism, culminating in the Darmstadt school of avant-garde music, and concluding with John Cage's nonsense, although it is rumored that figures like Pierre Boulez have kept it alive underground. "That music had a chance to find an audience, and it failed," said a well-respected composition professor.

Anyway, I digress.

We all know where the muses came from; Mnemosyne and Zeus. Arbitror came from the land of Protoindoeuropa, from the Italic village of Latin. He hailed from a very old family, and his "deponent" status would attest to that fact.

No one knows how they met. Everyone just figured they bumped together in a statistically perfect "random" event, clashing with Einstein's famous God's dice quote. Poor Einstein. He beat himself up so much he had to be confined to a wheelchair and changed his name to Stephen Hawking.

Arbitror and his wife decided to name their child "Musa Arbitrans," but decided to come up with a more "modern name" (Protoindoeuropa had fallen by that time and the villages had become independent city-states, one of which was huge: the Germanic city-state English), and thus, when their son was born, they named him "Arbitrary Musing"

What now? Who knows? As a very very well-respected calculus teacher said, repeatedly, to great effect, "it's arbitrary."