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More Pi in the sky

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By John Pawlak

 If I yelled out a three.  Then a one and a four.  Would you ask me to go on and shout out some more?
 OK, math lovers!  Next Thursday (March 14) is once again our chance to sing out the digits of harmonic irrationality to the world, to repeat our favorite non-repeating number.
 Pi.
 3.141592653 something uh something something.  Yeah, you know, it goes on and on, kind of like our irrational leaders filibustering in Congress.  But there’s a big difference.  Pi never repeats itself.
 So why the fascination with pi?  What is it about a number that motivates people to memorize it out dozens of places.  Or hundreds?  Some people have memorized and recited pi out over 10,000 digits.  The current record holder is Chao Lu who managed to recite pi out 67,890 places.
 Of course, computers are much better as spitting out the digits.  As computational capabilities continued to increase, it became traditional to demonstrate a computer’s power by having it calculate pi out to the umpteenth digit.  A couple years ago, they broke the ten trillion-digit mark.
Ten-trillion digits.  If you recited one digit every second, it would take you more than 300,000 years to read it.


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