Saturday, March 14, 2015

Every day is Pi Day

Today is known as Pi Day in America, because the date (3/14/15) matches the first five digits of pi (3.1415...). Some people have even gone so far as to say that 9:26:53 AM/PM is even more worthy of celebration because that contains the first 10 digits of pi. A mathematician might say that there was a moment in time in which the time was pi itself (that is, sometime between 9:26 and 9:27 AM/PM, there was a time which was pi AM/PM).

I want to propose a couple things:
(1) That the idea of pi day is terribly American-centric. Many countries write the date not as MM/DD/YY (03/14/15) but as DD/MM/YY (14/03/15) -- so the idea that the date matches the first 5 digits of pi is a bit wonky.

(2) In effect, every day is pi day because every date and time because every date and time conceivable will appear in the digits of pi. Given that pi is an irrational number, pi is both never-ending and never-repeating. Thus, every combination of numbers you want (let's say, for example, March 15 at 11:05 AM -- or, in the non-American method of writing, 15/03/15 11:05 = 153151105) will appear at least once in pi ("The string 153141105 occurs at position 151419383. This string occurs 1 times in the first 200M digits of Pi" --according to We can try to find the same string of numbers in other irrational numbers (say, the square root of 2, for example). Yes, the string might not start at the beginning, but any string of numbers is contained within pi.

Just a couple more pointers:
(3) There is a point in pi where the number 9 appears six times in a row (at position 762: ...11349999998372...). This is called the Feynman point. Just a fun little pattern.

(4) I have heard it argued that the existence of irrational numbers, such as pi, is evidence for the fact that we do not live in a computer-simulated world (we don't live in a Matrix). To contain an infinite number of digits (as we have not yet found the end of pi) means that a computer would require an infinite amount of memory/data processing to store the number pi in its hardware, which, as far as we can tell, is not possible.

Excuse the long delay in between posts -- I've been quite busy.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Decaffeinated Black Tea

I have 140k views on my Google+ profile. I didn't know I had a Google+ profile.


I am beginning to realize that I am far more blessed than I will ever know.

My finances, while not ideal, are OK for the time being; my family, while I have only seen them very briefly this year, is relatively healthy; my friends, though I miss them dearly, I got to talk to via webcam the other Thursday (did you know my computer comes with a webcam? I didn't) or through Facebook or text messaging; and my work -- well, at least I got a paycheck last week.

I finished reading Moby Dick somewhere near the end of June. It's not quite what I expected -- the plot is somewhat disappointing, but the characters are intriguing. I've also been learning how to play the guitar. I don't have a guitar so I try to borrow someone else's when I can, but, as you can imagine, not having a guitar makes it difficult to build up finger strength and callouses. I'm also learning Spanish (El pinguino es un pajaro blanco y negro). Progress is slow, but it's fun. I'm learning.

There's a funny thing I have slowly begun to realize, and it is this: though I am not as successful as I would hope, though I don't get as much work done as I (or my boss) would like, though I don't have as much money as I want -- I have enough. And, as I am still learning, I have more than enough. I am very blessed to have all the materials and people in my life, and very blessed to get to invest my time in these (self-actualizing, some might say) activities like reading and learning a new language and playing the guitar. And besides these more overt blessings, there are the "little things" -- living in a safe area, warm clothing, a radio that plays music, a paying job, a phone that can beat you at chess, being a citizen of a country with political stability -- there are these little things that you never quite appreciate until you realize that other people don't have them.

It's quite sad to think that the friends I make now I may not see again, for each of us shall diverge along our separate ways. The remaining time I have with them left is short (though it may not seem like it), and I am sad to see them go. For while I have met many people throughout my schooling and my work, there are only a small handful whom I have really connected with, and they are the kindest, funniest, most understanding people I have known. It is exciting to see what is in store for them in the future and saddening to know that I will never have the opportunity to express my gratitude or make it up to them.

I bought a box of decaf black tea at the store a couple weeks ago. I can't drink caffeine (a cup of green tea at 3PM means I will be awake until at least 4AM), so to have found tea that I can drink -- no matter how poor the quality -- is wonderful. Great taste. Perhaps they sell it at other stores. Maybe I'll buy another box of 100 bags before I go, just to be safe.

So many blessings, and I am only beginning to understand the magnitude of them. Family, safety, books, friends, tea -- I think I'm beginning to know what the psalmist meant when he wrote "My cup runneth over."


I started writing this blog post on July 3 (and, of course, I thought about it for quite a while before actually beginning to write it). What day is it now, the 26th? It is taking longer and longer for me to articulate my thoughts.

I am getting older. Perhaps it is starting to show.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Dream, 07/06/14

I had a dream last night where my left hand was cut off with a knife, so when I woke up this morning and saw my left hand was perfectly fine, I was quite pleased. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

John Cage's 4'33"

The postmodern composer John Cage put out an interesting composition in 1952: 4'33" (four minutes, thirty-three seconds, or just four thirty-three) is four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence; you can go on YouTube and watch a man sit at a piano for the entire length of the composition. The idea was that we don't listen enough to the sounds of the places where we are, that there is music wherever we are and that we just have to listen to it.

Cage has a wonderful quote attributed to him: "I have nothing to say and I'm saying it." It is remarkable how he has such a unique (postmodern?) view about things. The traditional (conservative?) view holds that that which is not worthy of being said should not.

Unfortunately I find my blog at a difficult crossroads of sorts...I am running out of time to post and when I do, I don't have anything to post about. Fortunately, this is not a blog about sports or games or art -- it's a blog about me. It is strange to see the ways in which I have changed (and not changed) over the years (you could call this a poorly-kept diary; you would not be wrong). Five years...

It seems that I have reached the end of my (creative?) limits, however. It is now almost April, and I have not posted since February; I have not posted anything of substance since...August of 2013? That long ago? That's half a year. I have nothing to say, and I know not whether I should continue to "say it" or whether I should cease and be quiet.

Musa, mihi causas memora...

I suppose that is a simplification; I have plenty of things to say, just not necessarily things I wish to post online or make public.

The human psyche is a wonderful and vast space, wonderful to describe and easy to get lost in.

I have nothing to say...

...I suppose that is not entirely true. Over the last five years, I have transitioned from being loud to being quiet. There's not true change here, I suppose. I have always been introverted, but I have gone from wanting attention to avoiding it (I shudder to recall all the posts that I deleted during the Great Purge of ATWC...why I put them up in the first place I don't know).

I suppose there is one change. I have become increasingly bitter as I have aged -- ah, no, bitter is not the right word. Mature, perhaps. I have become increasingly aware of the reality around us, and I know not whether to be heartened or discouraged by it.

It is saddening(?) to look back at some of the older posts and read over what I thought then. Truly, a different person was sitting at the computer back in 2008 or 2009 than the person sitting here now in 2014. Oh, how the times have changed!

I remember.

What a fascinating line [from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II Scene I]. Oberon reminisces about something in the past, and Puck has this beautiful response: I remember. There is such weight in it -- what a lovely response. An element of age, wisdom, and beauty, but more than that. There is a heavy, dark side to it -- yes, I was there, but no, that which once was cannot be any more. I remember.

Looking back over this blog (and I haven't forgotten it -- almost every day I remember this blog, wondering if I have the time or the content to post -- I don't, a painful reminder) has made me remember. It has made me realize that I had nothing to say when I posted back then -- I certainly thought I did!-- but I said it anyway. Now that I realize I have nothing to say, I don't know whether to continue or to cease.

I am confident that I am either far too old to be a post-modernist or far too young.

I have nothing to say and I'm saying it.

What existential bravery!

I remember.

And how time conquers us all.

Musa, mihi causas memora...

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