Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day! (With a more serious note)

Today is Pi Day!!!! Yaaaaayyy! Of course I am talking about 3.14! Okay ... you still don't get it ... Pi, π, the mathematical expression ... Wikipedia says: (

(sometimes written pi) is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any Euclidean plane circle's circumference to its diameter; this is the same value as the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius. It is approximately equal to 3.14159265 in the usual decimal notation. Many formulae from mathematics, science, and engineering involve π, which makes it one of the most important mathematical constants."
Okay, yes I know that "Pi Day" is rather geeky, but it's interesting as well. If one reads further down the wiki article, one can read the history of Pi;

"The earliest known textually evidenced approximations date from around 1900 BC; they are 256/81 (Egypt) and 25/8 (Babylonia), both within 1% of the true value.[9] The Indian text Shatapatha Brahmana gives π as 339/108 ≈ 3.139. It has been suggested that passages in the 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2 discussing a ceremonial pool in the temple of King Solomon with a diameter of ten cubits and a circumference of thirty cubits show that the writers considered pi to have had an approximate value of three, which various authors have tried to explain away through various suggestions such as a hexagonal pool or an outward curving rim."
"So what?" You may well ask! Well, Pi day (occurring every March 14th, of course) is an excellent excuse to eat pie! I personally enjoy a good Key Lime pie, but the Marie Calendar's "Razzleberry" pie (available in your grocer's freezer section) is also quite good and much easier than making one from scratch. By the way, the making of pie is definitely not as "easy as pie" (which refers to the pleasurable experience of eating a piece of pie, rather than making one). I've helped make home-made pies, not really easy when you do them right. But enjoying a pie is a piece of cake. So! Have a piece of pie on Pi day! By the way, an 8-inch pie is about 25.13 inches in diameter (C=πxD), and covers an area of about 50.27 square inches (A=πxR2) (that's supposed to be "R squared").
On a more serious note, probably all of us have been following the disaster in Japan. I know our thoughts and prayers go out to the hundreds of thousands of people involved. I pray the survivors will be aided and those who are still in need of aid will receive it soon. It is at times like these that we realize just how vulnerable all of us are to such natural disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, blizzards and wildfires have always been with us. But we are now able to send aid to the victims of these disasters more quickly than we have ever been able to before. But it still takes money to send aid. Even Japan, who has had one of the stronger economies of the world, will still need assistance. Please help by donating to your preferred relief agencies ... I've always liked the Red Cross since they go world wide to help when and where they're needed.

The Red Cross website makes it easy to donate, click on the "donate now" link, select a specific issue to help with (such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami, or help American Military and their families, your local chapter or several other specifics), or select "where the need is greatest". The Red Cross is frequently the first aid organization on the scene of a disaster. Or, if you'd like to find another charity to give to, but you're not sure which ones are on the "up and up", check Charity Navigator, this is a great web resource for finding legitimate charities. And don't forget to brush up on your charity fraud awareness a the Federal Trade Commission's web site on that subject.

I've also done a little bit to help out Japan's economy ... I've purchased the New Pokémon games! Gotta catch 'em all!

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