# Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time

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#### Ubuntu

• 2392
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« on: November 25, 2006, 01:47:37 PM »

Pi

The number pi is the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter. It's approximately equal to 3.14159265, although the digits go on forever.

Some mathematicians are obsessed with computing pi to more and more digits. In the year 1610, a German mathematician computed pi to 35 digits. In 1789, a Slovene mathematician computed pi to 140 digits. This was all done by hand, in poorly heated houses.

An English amateur mathematician spent 20 years calculating pi to 707 digits, finishing in 1873. 71 years later, it was discovered that he had made a mistake at the 528th digit, and all the digits following it were wrong.

In 2002, frantic Japanese mathematicians used a supercomputer to accurately compute pi to 1,241,100,000,000 digits.

Based on all this effort, you might assume that it'd be useful to know a trillion digits of pi. However, if you had a circle the size of the observable universe, and you wanted to compute its circumference with an accuracy equal to the size of a proton, the number of digits of pi that you'd need is only 50.

Either mathematicians are totally crazy, or they're planning ahead for a time when the survival of humanity will depend on the ability to construct extremely large, accurate circles.

http://www.coolsciencefacts.com

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#### Knight

• 875
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2006, 01:56:39 PM »
I need to read the book A History of Pi.
ooyakasha!

#### The_Earth_Does_Not_Exist

• 576
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2006, 05:33:04 PM »
March 14 is pi(e) day.
quote="DiegoDraw"]"And Moses said unto his brethren: 'The Earth is flat!...biznatches,'" [/quote]
DOT INFO

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#### Erasmus

• The Elder Ones
• 4242
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2006, 05:48:39 PM »
Pi is exactly three.
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

#### The_Earth_Does_Not_Exist

• 576
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2006, 06:11:28 PM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
Pi is exactly three.

by "Pi" do you mean
or somthing difforent?
quote="DiegoDraw"]"And Moses said unto his brethren: 'The Earth is flat!...biznatches,'" [/quote]
DOT INFO

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#### REcarl

• 18
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2006, 07:37:25 PM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
Pi is exactly three.

hahaha now what are you quoting?  I think its from the simpsons.  i remember that quote!!

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
• -2 Flamebait
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2006, 08:26:06 PM »
I think the ancient greeks (or at least some of them) thought that pi was exactly 22/7. Of course, they also didn't know about irrational numbers, and then when someone discovered that not all numbers were rational, they stoned him, at least according to one account (another account says that he was drowned for sharing mathematical "secrets" with people outside of the school of Pythagoras).

My favorite program ever for calculating pi did so by doing the following: it created a large ascii drawing of a circle and then divided the number of characters on the boundary by the number of characters in the interior.

Personally, I don't understand the obsession with calculating or memorizing pi - there are so many more interesting ways to occupy yourself. But then, some people juggle geese.
-David
E pur si muove!

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#### mjk

• 269
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2006, 04:43:39 AM »
Quote from: "skeptical scientist"

Personally, I don't understand the obsession with calculating or memorizing pi - there are so many more interesting ways to occupy yourself. But then, some people juggle geese.

:lol:

uh oh, geese juggling on small moons is my title in another forum......i'm being stalked!

and let it be known that i have never attempted to juggle any living animal, only 5 balls.
quote="diegodraw"]you never mentioned anything about antagonizing naive idiots who have reason to believe they should defend what everyone already knows is logical....Not like anybody would ever have fun doing that, of course[/quote]

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
• -2 Flamebait
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2006, 10:26:59 AM »
Quote from: "mjk"
uh oh, geese juggling on small moons is my title in another forum......i'm being stalked!

Firefly > all.
8-)
-David
E pur si muove!

#### dysfunction

• The Elder Ones
• 2261
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2006, 10:37:06 AM »
The Bible said that pi is 3. Take that, Biblical inerrancy.
the cake is a lie

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
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##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2006, 10:57:45 AM »
Quote from: "dysfunction"
The Bible said that pi is 3. Take that, Biblical inerrancy.

Where? Or is this a joke?
-David
E pur si muove!

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• Official Member
• 16983
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2006, 11:02:13 AM »

8/30 NEVAR FORGET

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
• -2 Flamebait
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2006, 11:09:12 AM »
http://pi.ytmnd.com/

-David
E pur si muove!

#### The_Earth_Does_Not_Exist

• 576
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2006, 11:22:18 AM »
that... was... AWESOME!
quote="DiegoDraw"]"And Moses said unto his brethren: 'The Earth is flat!...biznatches,'" [/quote]
DOT INFO

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#### Mephistopheles

• 892
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2006, 11:25:32 AM »
PI in binary has the lyrics to your favorite song.

Try it!
ttp://theflatearthsociety.org/forums/search.php

"Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#### dysfunction

• The Elder Ones
• 2261
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2006, 11:52:50 AM »
Quote from: "skeptical scientist"
Quote from: "dysfunction"
The Bible said that pi is 3. Take that, Biblical inerrancy.

Where? Or is this a joke?

It's true, but I meant that as a joke; of all the arguments against Biblical inerrancy, that is probably the weakest.
the cake is a lie

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
• -2 Flamebait
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2006, 11:57:02 AM »
Quote from: "Mephistopheles"
PI in binary has the lyrics to your favorite song.

Try it!

Is there some place where you can actually do this, or are you just stating it as a general rule, and if I want to check I have to expand pi in binary to 256^(number of characters in song lyrics) places and then convert to ascii in order to have an outside shot at finding the lyrics?

Besides you don't mean it definitely has the lyrics. You mean with probability 1, it has the lyrics. AFAIK, nobody has shown that pi contains every substring. I'm not even sure if it's been proved that it contains almost every substring, although this is believed to be the case.
-David
E pur si muove!

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#### Ubuntu

• 2392
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2006, 03:36:57 PM »
http://pi.ytmnd.com/

That is my new favourite song!

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
• -2 Flamebait
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2006, 05:45:49 PM »
Quote from: "Ubuntu"
http://pi.ytmnd.com/

That is my new favourite song!

I guess pi in binary doesn't have the lyrics to your favorite song, but pi in decimal does.
-David
E pur si muove!

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#### Rick_James

• The Elder Ones
• 4311
• Rick <3 Gayer
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2006, 10:58:04 PM »
Eeeeew now I have the Pi song stuck in my head.... if only I knew the lyrics.... :lol:

#### midgard

• 1300
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2006, 08:34:24 AM »
Quote from: "General Discussions FAQ"
Q: "What is the circumference and diameter of the Earth?"

A: "Circumference: 78225 miles, Diameter: 24,900 miles

Pi is obviously 3.141566265, that's it - nothing more, nothing less.

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#### Mephistopheles

• 892
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2006, 01:06:32 PM »
Quote from: "skeptical scientist"

Is there some place where you can actually do this, or are you just stating it as a general rule, and if I want to check I have to expand pi in binary to 256^(number of characters in song lyrics) places and then convert to ascii in order to have an outside shot at finding the lyrics?

Besides you don't mean it definitely has the lyrics. You mean with probability 1, it has the lyrics. AFAIK, nobody has shown that pi contains every substring. I'm not even sure if it's been proved that it contains almost every substring, although this is believed to be the case.

More of a joke referring to pi having supposedly infinite digits and therefore containing all knowledge.
ttp://theflatearthsociety.org/forums/search.php

"Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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#### Ubuntu

• 2392
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2006, 01:17:42 PM »
Quote from: "Mephistopheles"
Quote from: "skeptical scientist"

Is there some place where you can actually do this, or are you just stating it as a general rule, and if I want to check I have to expand pi in binary to 256^(number of characters in song lyrics) places and then convert to ascii in order to have an outside shot at finding the lyrics?

Besides you don't mean it definitely has the lyrics. You mean with probability 1, it has the lyrics. AFAIK, nobody has shown that pi contains every substring. I'm not even sure if it's been proved that it contains almost every substring, although this is believed to be the case.

More of a joke referring to pi having supposedly infinite digits and therefore containing all knowledge.

Ah, that's a good one! You can find your birthday (50% chance) in the first 4 million digits.

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#### Erasmus

• The Elder Ones
• 4242
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2006, 01:27:08 PM »
Quote from: "Ubuntu"
Ah, that's a good one! You can find your birthday (50% chance) in the first 4 million digits.

Represented how?
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

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#### Ubuntu

• 2392
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2006, 01:42:19 PM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
Quote from: "Ubuntu"
Ah, that's a good one! You can find your birthday (50% chance) in the first 4 million digits.

Represented how?

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
• -2 Flamebait
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2006, 01:52:32 PM »
Quote from: "Mephistopheles"
More of a joke referring to pi having supposedly infinite digits and therefore containing all knowledge.

This is not, in fact, the case. Pi is easily computable, which means it doesn't really contain any more information than the number 1 (in a precise sense which is somewhat OT, but which I can go into if anyone cares). Pi cannot, for example, be used to tell whether a given computer program will halt or not. It will also be unable to produce a sequence of random numbers. You can't use pi to answer any question you couldn't answer without knowing pi, since you could calculate pi yourself if necessary. You could calculate some things more efficiently, but you can't learn anything you didn't already know.
-David
E pur si muove!

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#### Ubuntu

• 2392
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2006, 01:59:21 PM »
Quote from: "skeptical scientist"
Quote from: "Mephistopheles"
More of a joke referring to pi having supposedly infinite digits and therefore containing all knowledge.

This is not, in fact, the case. Pi is easily computable, which means it doesn't really contain any more information than the number 1 (in a precise sense which is somewhat OT, but which I can go into if anyone cares). Pi cannot, for example, be used to tell whether a given computer program will halt or not. It will also be unable to produce a sequence of random numbers. You can't use pi to answer any question you couldn't answer without knowing pi, since you could calculate pi yourself if necessary. You could calculate some things more efficiently, but you can't learn anything you didn't already know.

However, computing Pi will eventually produce every book in every library in the world...

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#### Erasmus

• The Elder Ones
• 4242
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2006, 02:17:13 PM »
Quote from: "Ubuntu"
However, computing Pi will eventually produce every book in every library in the world...

Proof?
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

#### skeptical scientist

• 1285
• -2 Flamebait
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2006, 02:20:29 PM »
Quote from: "Ubuntu"
However, computing Pi will eventually produce every book in every library in the world...

Do you have a source for this statement?

AFAIK, this is not known to be true. It is true that if one were to create an infinite decimal sequence by choosing digits at random, it would be very likely to contain a code for every sentence written by man, and the digits of pi appear to be evenly distributed, so it is conjectured that pi too has this property. However, we don't really have any evidence beyond this, at least not that I am aware of. Pi may look like a random sequence, but it is very definitely not - it can be easily produced by a deterministic algorithm, but no truly random sequence can.

Even if it is true, it is also completely useless. You can much more quickly and efficiently produce every book in every library in the world by taking a list of all words in a human language and put them together at random, together with a few other random letter sequences to cover author-invented names and words. Then you are guaranteed that everything you produce consists mostly of real words, as opposed to random letter sequences, and therefore you'll be done several orders of magnitude of orders of magnitude faster. You still can't produce any books this way, because in order to sort out the books from the load of crap you produce, you'd either need the entire population of the earth to become librarians, or you'd need an artificial intelligence capable of recognizing a good story or useful and heretofor unknown knowledge. In either case, it would be much more useful to have said population or AI actually produce knowledge than try to cull knowledge from random crap.
-David
E pur si muove!

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#### Ubuntu

• 2392
##### Calculating Pi: yes, we have been wasting our time
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2006, 02:29:36 PM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
Quote from: "Ubuntu"
However, computing Pi will eventually produce every book in every library in the world...

Proof?

As the digits of Pi increase, theoretically more and more strings of digits will be a part of it, increasing the probability that a combination will come up that can be translated to have some meaning. Eventually, you'd get every single book as a string of digits in Pi (note: there would also be a version of A Tale of Two Cities that begins "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times.").

There's something similar on Exit Mundi.