back to article American pies are cooling on the windowsill ahead of Pi Day

Today in the US, home of the crazily backward (if you're not American) date arrangement, it's Pi day because its March 14 or 3.14. This is the day that Americans (but not Europeans, obviously) celebrate the mathematical constant that frames our science and maths along with the birthday of Albert Einstein. A mathematical …


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  1. johnnytruant

    As a friend of mine put it..

    "This is what infinity means: Somewhere, encoded in the unending, random-seeming digits of the decimal representation of pi, is a perfect cut-and-paste-worthy 1080p H.264 widescreen encoding of the video to Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up.'"

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      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: an infinite number of times

        That's depressing

    2. Ian Ferguson
      Paris Hilton

      Re: As a friend of mine put it..

      mmmm...really? I always wonder about the theory that infinite randomness must by definition contain all variations of finite patterns.

      For example, when people say that if the universe (or parallel universes, if you like) is infinite, there must be an exact replica of our world where everyone wears more hats. Isn't it more likely that even if the universe/s is infinite, there's a limited number of possibilities? It seems entirely plausible that our world is the only world containing hats, and the rest of infinity is sadly hatless (and devoid of life).

      Likewise, couldn't the random/meaningless-seeming digits of the decimal representation of pi continue in a unrepeating manner without meaningful coincidence?

      1. JP19

        Re: As a friend of mine put it..

        "It seems entirely plausible that our world is the only world containing hats".

        Space bounded by infinity contains an infinite number of all things which are possible. We know for sure (as far as we really know anything) that our world is possible. We don't know for sure a world like ours with more hats is possible, but, it seems entirely plausible.

        As for the 'friend', expressing 1/3rd exactly also requires an infinite number of digits which don't contain any Rick Astley. The digits of pi are not random either, they can be calculated which by definition means they are not random. Taken a few digits at a time they appear to have the properties of random numbers but that is no guarantee that taken a few million at a time you will eventually get every possible sequence of that few million digits.

      2. Graham Bartlett

        Re: As a friend of mine put it..

        The universe is a physical entity, and therefore limited by physical laws.

        However, pi is just an infinitely-long string of random numbers. Any computer file is a finite string of numbers. Unless you have found some pattern in the digits of pi so that it isn't truly random, then somewhere there's going to be a string of consecutive numbers which matches your chosen sequence.

        It might take a while to find it though. Basic probability gives you the odds of finding an M-digit sequence of numbers in N digits of pi, and the odds go down *fast* as the size of sequence goes up.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Two Concepts

        There are two concepts here: infinity and randomness.

        An infinite PI that was not random might not contain Rick Astley's magnum opus, however if it is indeed random, then that guarantees that it contains an infinite number of such renditions. Such is the nature of infinity.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As a friend of mine put it..

      Along with the entire works of Shakespeare, repeated an infinite number of times......

    4. Woodgie

      Re: As a friend of mine put it..

      Then in that case there's a perfect ascii representation of; this comment, ^ that comment and v that one, too.

      Even to the pyto I just made and the rong spelling and bad grammar.

      The infinite nature of π has a lot to answer for!

  2. Audrey S. Thackeray


    I would suggest Kate Bush as the leading contender for Pi day tune but apprently her attempt to sing Pi to 150 decimal places goes a bit wonky

  3. DJV Silver badge

    Nice attempt

    I went to to see what Pi-related logo they had put up to celebrate the day, but they hadn't - their logo was for Akira Yoshizawa's 101st Birthday so I have a sneaky feeling you're trying to April Fool us a bit early!

  4. Aaron Em

    I am disappointed

    that all of those pies are round. I know good and damn well I'm not the only smartass out there who'd bake a square pie today just for grins -- where are the rest of you?

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Re: I am disappointed

      Why stop at 2 dimensions anyway? Surely there must be some way to bake a pie in the shape of a dodecahedron?

      1. Dibbles

        Re: I am disappointed

        Like your thinking there. In fact, couldn't we create a hypersphere pie - that is, a pie in 4 dimensions? One that extends through time, I suppose...

        1. Code Monkey

          Re: I am disappointed

          One that extends through time? Like one that you* shove in the fridge for later?

          * other people. Pies don't last long in this house.

        2. Vic

          Re: I am disappointed

          > a pie in 4 dimensions?

          Pies already exist in four dimensions; they are sharply tapered along that axis, meaning that their projection into the three dimensions we know about gets smaller quite quickly.

          That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. There is no longer a need for an investigation into who ate all the pies...


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am disappointed

        "Surely there must be some way to bake a pie in the shape of a dodecahedron?"

        Or 'a d12' as the rest of us know it as.

    2. Swarthy

      Re: I am disappointed

      I was thinking about making mini-pies in the cornbread dish my wife has, molds in the shape of ears of corn. Cornbread because: "Pi R Squared? No! Pie are round; cornbread are square."

      shaped like corn is just one more layer of "off-kilter"; but alas, those would be tarts.

      1. Timbo

        Re: I am disappointed

        A friend of mine told me the perfect food for Pi Day - it's a small round flat bread, with tomato paste spread upon it and then cheese melted on top, of radius "z" and height "a" and whose total volume was described by the formula V= pi x r squared x h = substituting in the above formula gives us "pizza"..... :(

        (yup, I know it's lame - personally I prefer Pi day as 22nd July, which is more mathematically correct than 3.14)

      2. Psyx

        Re: I am disappointed

        "Pi R Squared? No! Pie are round; cornbread are square."


        I was stood at the Asda pizza counter the other week while a knuckle-dragging family tried to work out the area of pizzas to figure out what size was the best value*. I finally snapped and said "Pi r^2" [flawlessly pronouncing the caret]. They turned to me and I was met with a tirade of answers:

        "But it's a pizza, not a pie"

        "But it's round"

        "That's maths, that is. What use is THAT in the real world?"

        *The 14" one by a wide margin. I'd done the maths myself a few years ago. It was borderline while they were charging £4 for them, but now they're £3.18 it's a no brainer.

  5. Quantum Leaper

    I just want my Raspberry...

  6. Paul RND*1000

    I don't need a special day for pie.

    Mmmm. Pie.

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  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I just say that Pi day is..

    ..totally irrational.


    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Can I just say that Pi day is..

      Indeed it is. I shall be also be practising some meditation of the transcendental variety to mark the day. I'm not sure if that's a rational decision though...

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Can I just say that Pi day is..

      Certainly the "proper" Pi day is (22nd July).

      1. stephenjjohnson

        Re: Can I just say that Pi day is..

        Indeed - 22/7 is a closer approximation than 3.14

        1. Ed 13

          Re: Can I just say that Pi day is..

          355/113 is better yet, and manageable with 16bit integer arithmetic.

          1. Miguel Farah
            Thumb Up

            Re: Can I just say that Pi day is..

            "355/113 is better yet, and manageable with 16bit integer arithmetic."

            I have no doubt it is, but our year isn't that long. Neptune's year, on the other hand, can handle it: since it it lasts for 164.8 Earth years, it contains 75583.66 Neptunian days, which can fit 120 months of 360 days each with a lot of room to spare.

            Uranus does nicely, too. Its year lasts for 84.07 Earth years, with a 17.9-hour day, giving 41142.64 Uranian days - 115 months of 360 days each with *some* room to spare.

            Unsurprisingly, Pluto won't cooperate: its year lasts for 247.7 earth-years, with a day that's 6.39 Earth-days long, so its calendar only has 14148.75 Plutonian days.

            So, we should be celebrating Pi Day on 22/7 on Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and 355/113 on Uranus and Neptune. Pluto, since it won't cooperate, can go frack itself. I wonder if Sedna will be better?

  8. peyton?

    hmph Indiana

    The state where (until recently) they didn't observe daylight savings time... except for sometimes, where they did.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: hmph Indiana

      In that regard (parts of) Indiana is (are) the only sane place(s).

      Daylight savings time is the dumbest idea ever. There is still EXACTLY the same number of hours of daylight per day. You don't like not seeing enough of it, GET UP EARLIER.

      1. oddie
        Thumb Up

        Re: hmph Indiana

        I imagine its just easier to have everyone change the clocks an hour forwards or backwards, rather than convince all shops/businesses/schools/public transport/etc to start or finish or place their most frequent service at a different time of the day (So my office hours are for intance 9-5 all year round in stead of having me start at 8 or 10 or whatever it is.. I cant be bothered figuring it out.. daylight saving time does it for me)

        it all just boils down to what hours contain daylight at what times of the year and saving of electricity/reduce accidents/profesions that need daylight to work.

        it is kind of clever

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: hmph Indiana

      That's Eerie!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought we were supposed to be having steak today! (nsfw)

    Cameron and Obama are apparently having it according to the news.... Steak that is.

  10. Eddy Ito

    Now we know

    "officially recognised by the US House of Representatives in 2009"

    It's nice to see them doing things of such importance when the rest of us were trying to deal with evaporated retirement accounts, loss of home equity, looking for a job and other such frivolities of daily life.

  11. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Over a thousand years to π day

    ISO 8601 date is YYYY-MM-DD, but I am not sure what the 59th month is. Discordian π day was close to 1975 but Aftermath has only 73 days. Today is Pungenday and the last day in Chaos. Discord tomorrow.

  12. John Savard


    Easter has ham... Thanksgiving has turkey. Christmas... in England, goose was associated with it. Turkey is definitely a choice for Christmas dinner in the United States, but it isn't really associated with the holiday.

    Of course, there are also Easter eggs, but they're for painting, not eating.

  13. Chad H.


    I demand Equal time against ElReg's bias for Pi. I demand time for Tau!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rather surprised...

    What, no mention of Steak & Blowjob Day, the antithesis to Valentine's Day?

  15. J.G.Harston Silver badge


    Of course, with the date the correct way around, pi day is 31th April....

  16. Purlieu

    You'll be waiting

    a long time for 31 April to come around

    perhaps whistling a Rick Astley tune would while away the decades,

  17. Candy

    Appropriate Music

    Surely the music from the Pimania game should be put forwards as the official theme? Remember that? From the other side of the cassette the game loaded from.

    They don't write 'em like that any more...

  18. This Side Up

    Re. "daylight saving" time

    Surely we should put the clocks forward in Winter, because that's when we have the dark evenings?

    1. The First Dave

      Re: Re. "daylight saving" time

      No, we should leave the clocks alone - time zone hassles are quite enough for any programmer to deal with.

  19. agricola

    And, one could also...

    ...hold a π-mile road race event, as they do at the Georgia Institute of Technology (at least they used to, long before π-day was created). Yes, that same Georgia Tech mentioned in your "Lara Croft...doomsday earthquake...Greek underwater volcano..." article.

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