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.

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