Cool project: "I used pi to compose a song that lasts for 999,999 hours"

Canton Becker, an electronic music composer and programmer, composed a procedurally generated song that uses the first billion digits of pi as its input.

I haven't listened to all 114 years of the song yet, but I like what I have heard so far.

From his statement:

Becker programmed — or composed — an algorithm to generate music using the first one billion digits of pi (π). These digits supply the "turn signals" used to determine every musical expression in the song. Each digit (3.1415...) is responsible for orchestrating approximately four seconds of music. The electronic instruments and sound samples were prepared by Becker in advance.

Because the numbers in pi never repeat, each one of the million hours in "Shepard's Pi” is in fact unique. Listeners who fast forward to some distant moment in the song are virtually guaranteed to find themselves listening to something that nobody else – including the composer himself – has ever heard before.

Becker told me "here’s one of my favorite 20 minutes so far, from around hour 10,470." Read the rest

Pi was almost 6.28...

Happy pi day! Today we think of pi as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter (3.14...). But in the olden days (and even today) some people thought pi should be the ratio of a circle's radius to its diameter (6.28...), Today, that symbol is called tau, and in some cases, it makes for cleaner looking equations. 3Blue1Brown made a fun video about the "seminal moments when pi became the standard."

Another reason to celebrate pi day - the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the release of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, a significant update to the amazing little $35 Linux computer:

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Sugar Pie Desanto sings "Rock Me Baby"

One of my all time favorite singers. Read the rest

As usual, Vi Hart's annual Pi Day video is the best way to ring in 3/14

Vi Hart (previously) is the fast-talking, doodling, hyper-charming mathematical vlogger whose Pi Day videos are consistently the best of the season, even when she's pooping on Pi, she always manages to fascinate and delight. Read the rest

Pie-Modding 101: turning store-bought desserts into amazing nerd-chow

For nearly a year, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) has delighted us with her nerdy, fannish pies and other baked goods, and now she's announced an ebook on "pie-modding" ("modifying pre-made desserts to create epic, edible works of art"): Pie Modding: Pies Are Awesome Vol 1, which you can pre-order for $2.97. Read the rest

Where does your birthday land on pi?

To celebrate Pi Day (3/14), have fun with MyPiDay, developed last year by Stephen Wolfram and company. Enter your birthday or any other number and see where it first appears in pi.

Background in Wolfram's post here. Read the rest

You can calculate Pi by dropping toothpicks on a wood floor

In honor of Pi Day (3/14/16 = 3.1416), here's a page from The Giant Golden Book of Mathematics (1958) that shows you how to calculate Pi by dropping toothpicks on a wood floor.

We see circles everywhere. The wheels of automobiles, the rims of cups, and the faces of nickels and quarters are all circles. The sun and the full moon look like circles in the sky.

The distance across a circle, through its center, is called the diameter of the circle. The distance around the circle is called its circumference. Measure the diameter of a quarter, and you will find that it is about one inch long. You can measure the circumference of the quarter, too. First wind enough string around it to go around once. Then unwind the string, and measure it with a ruler. You will find that it is about three times as long as the diameter. Measure the circumference and diameter of the rim of a cup and you will get the same result. The circumference of any circle is a fixed number times the diameter. This fixed number cannot be written exactly as a fraction or decimal, so we use the Greek letter pi to stand for it. It is almost equal to 3-1/7, or 3.14.

Strange as it may seem, there is a way of calculating the value of pi by dropping a stick on the floor. The floor has to be made of planks of the same width. Use a thin stick, such as a toothpick, that is as long as the planks are wide.

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Celebrate "Pi Day" by throwing hot dogs down a hallway

No, that's not a euphemism for anything. Buffon's Needle is an 18th-century experiment in probability mathematics and geometry that can be used as a way to calculate pi through random sampling. This WikiHow posting explains how you can recreate Buffon's Needle at home, by playing with your food. Read the rest