Pi Day 2010 Video Clips

21 March 2010

The video clips embedded in this posting were made on Pi Day 2010 (i.e. 3/14). I spent Pi Day 2010 playing in the Colorado desert of southwest California.

This first video clip was made in Rice, California (pop. 0). I bought a piece of pie (pecan) at the Crossroads Cafe in Parker, Arizona, and ate it in Rice.

This second video clip was shot at the RR trestle located along CA Hwy-62 between Vidal Jct. and Rice. This stretch of CA Hwy-62 is lined with rock banners and I made a rock banner Pi symbol.

This last video clip was shot at a cement slab that is located about a half mile south of where the Tamarisk Shoe Tree use to live. I made a Pi symbol using shoes that are stashed at the cement slab.


Pondering what to do on Pi Day 2010

21 February 2010

It’s Sunday, 21 February 2010, and 14 March 2010 (i.e. Pi Day) is three weeks away. I’ve been pondering what to do this Pi Day and there are so many things I can do.

Pi Day 2010 falls on a Sunday at the front-end of a week long spring break.

I thought about flying to Los Angeles, California, to eat pie at the House of Pies Bakery and Restaurant, but I opted to save this for a future Pi Day.

I considered flying to San Jose, California, to visit the Computer History Museum, but I decided that I didn’t want to do any flying.

I contemplated a two-day road trip to Deming, New Mexico, to visit the Rockhound State Park and Pancho Villa State Parks. In addition, this road trip would enable to get pictures of some road signs located along westbound I-10 between Willcox and Tucson. But… I decided to make this a summer activity.

I pondered a three-day road trip spending two nights in Needles, California. Day one, which will be on Pi Day, would include getting a piece of pie in Parker, Arizona, and eating it in Rice (CA). Day two will be a full day road trip into the Mojave National Preserve. I will visit to the Kelso Depot for the first time and a hike of the Kelso Dunes in order to get a better video clip of the roaring sand dunes.


It’s raining a lot here in Tempe and now I’m thinking I might spend Pi Day 2010 seeking wildflowers.

Take US Hwy-60 east to Florance Jct. (flowers). Continue US Hwy-60E to Gonzales Pass (flowers). Continue US Hwy-60E to Superior where I’ll stop and play for a while. Continue US Hwy-60E to Miami stopping at the tunnel to take pictures (boulders). I’ll play in Miami for a while before continuing US Hwy-60E to its junction with AZ Hwy-88. [75 miles] Head north on AZ Hwy-88 stopping at Roosevelt Lake/Bridge/Dam. Continue north on AZ Hwy-188 (Az Hwy-88 goes west as the Apache Trail). At AZ Hwy-87, go north to Payson. [155 miles total] While in Payson, I’ll have a piece of pie at the 260 Cafe and a second piece of pie at the Beeline Cafe. Return to Tempe via southbound AZ Hwy-87, where numerous flower explosions will potentially be encountered. [235 miles total]


One millionth of one percent

8 February 2010

The following quote was on my iGoogle homepage on 02010.02.03.

“We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.” — Thomas Edison (d.01931)

Edison’s quote prompted me to come up with the following arithmetic question: What is one millionth of one percent of 1.759 quadrillion?

I used 1.759 quadrillion because the world’s fastest supercomputer could do that many arithmetic calculations in one second (flops).
And, by the way, one millionth of one percent of 1.759 quadrillion is 17,590,000.

In the 21st century, Edison might have said that we don’t know a quadrillionth of one percent about anything.

Colbert, Benjamin and the Three Dog Night

1 February 2010

Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin is a math professor at Harvey Mudd University and on 27 January 2010 he was a guest on the Colbert Report.

Colbert asked Benjamin, “What’s the loneliest?”

Benjamin responded with “1” to which Colbert borrowed from the Three Dog Night just like I often do when the answer to a question is one.

Instructor: 0! evaluates to what?
Responses: Zero? Undefined? Error? Silence…
Instructor: Think loneliest number.
Response: One?
Instructor: Excellent! But… it was the Three Dog Night who claimed “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do” and that “Two can be as bad as one; It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”

ColbertNation.com::Arthur Benjamin

True or False: 1 is a prime number

1 February 2010

On a Thursday morning I asked the class… “True or False: 1 is a prime number.”

After a brief review of prime numbers, composite numbers, and the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, I lamented how my fear of true/false questions would keep me from being on the TV show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.” Knowing my luck, I’d pick a 1st grade question and it would be a true/false type. I’d probably morph into Ralph Kramden and respond with homina, homina, homina.

Later on that same Thursday, I was at home channel surfing on the TV and I stopped at “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.” The contestant picked 4th grade math and the question was (and I’m not making this up)… “True or False: 1 is a prime number.”

Spring semesters start with a holiday

11 January 2010

Arizona’s Maricopa County Community Colleges begin every spring semester on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

During a semester, I start each week with a QOTW (Quote Of The Week) and I start spring semesters with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. The following MLK quote was going to be the first QOTW for 2010 spring semester.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

But… I help others learn about computing and math; therefore, I switched the first QOTW for the spring 2010 semester to the following MLK quote.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

The MLK quote is used to mathematically define the terms finite and infinite and this semester the first QOTW will include a second quote… my original choice for the first QOTW — the MLK quote that ends with… Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

The MLK quote about thinking will be used to mathematically define the term nothing and doing arithmetic with zero.

A bit about zero

20 December 2009

I got up this morning with the intention of writing a bit about zero, but first I checked Twitter and came across the following tweet.

@RepublicOfMath I thought I had 3 apples, but I counted them; 0,1,2 and only had 2. RT @toddlee @t_uda retweet if we think 0 is a natural number?

I do something similar during class, but I use my fingers instead of apples.

I woke up this morning and decided to make sure I had all my fingers… 0, 1, 2, 3, 4… Doh! I’m missing a finger!

I (@MathBabbler) replied to the @RepublicOfMath tweet with the following tweet.

In the computing world, 0 is a natural number. It’s been the cause of many off-by-one errors.

Now… back to the bit I wanted to write about zero.

Add 0 to a quantity and the quantity remains unchanged; subtract 0 from a quantity and the quantity remains unchanged. But, multiply a quantity by zero and it becomes zero. Divide a quantity by zero and run the risk of crashing a computer. It’s okay to take nothing and divide-by something, but don’t even think about dividing something by nothing.

This almost as destructive as multiplying by zero: Raise a non-zero quantity to the power of zero and get one.

Zero factorial (written 0!) is one. What a great power of zero example: Take nothing (i.e. zero) and turn it into something (i.e. one). I wish I could factorialize all the zero pennies I have.

Zero is cool because it’s both a digit and a number. Plus, it is a digit in every number system from base-2 (binary) on up.

Zero is neither positive nor negative, yet +0 typically implies you have a positive quantity that is so small that it might was well be zero and -0 implies you have a negative quantity that is so close to zero that for all practical purposes its zero.

Is zero even or odd? Many consider it even, yet it’s odd to do arithmetic with it.