The Non-Mystery of π

Patch says:

Today is π day. Which is nice, because pies are tasty.

Minor rant, however, related the number itself, because a lot of people seem to spend a lot of time thinking about the infinite, non-repeating sequence of digits following the 3. They memorize as many of the digits as they can. Spin foofy psuedo-scientific theories around them. Make long movies about people who go crazy trying to unlock the secrets of π.

The silly thing is that π would be much more mysterious if it was a rational number. Even more so if it was an integer.

If the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle was, say, 3, something really odd would be going on. An integer speaks of exactness and perfection, of cold rigor not often found in nature. An integer would suggest some sort of divine plan or design. But π isn’t an integer. Or a rational number. It’s just a regular old irrational number. One random number out of an infinite number of possibilities.

Doesn’t mean that it’s not useful. Or cool to play with. (Even it is wrong.) But the exact numerical value of π has very little to do with anything.

End rant. Now to decide what sort of pie to have today.

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