July 19, 2005

Meet You On The Bell Curve

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But then, I already knew that.

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How About a BIG Piece of Pi for Breakfast.

The number Pi never ends. In math terms, it's irrational. Like me whilst playing racquetball.

Pi starts out 3.14159265358- and continues on infinitely. The fact that there is no end to Pi has spawned an increasingly ludicrous - but fascinating - race to harness computer power and cleverness in order to calculate more and more digits of this infinite number.

And even more fascinating and just as senseless, a Japanese mathematician, or professor, or sensei, earlier this year successfully recited from memory 83,431 decimal places of Pi. See, and you thought gamers were obsessed. Actually, believe it or not, the man is a mental health counsellor. Go figure (in a manner of speaking).

Not too many hundreds of years ago merely the first five or six digits past the decimal had been calculated. And really, isn't that close enough?

I read recently that as of last year approximately 1.2 trillion digits past the decimal had been calculated. 1,200,000,000,000 decimal places. I'm thinking, if you use Pi the way it's designed to be used, you could fill a small round pool with water, measure the diameter, let's say exactly, and the depth, and then figure out the exact volume of water in that pool. Now, if you use Pi to the precision of 1.2 trillion digits, I'm guessing you're just as accurate as individually counting every single water molecule in that little pool. Just a thought.

While commenting on a mathematician's blog recently - well, a relative who is/was a mathematician, and who has a blog - I related how I was just trying to put that into context. Trying to wrap my brain around how god-awful LONG 1.2 Trillion digits is.

I figured that, if I were to write out Pi, in my normal handwriting - and assuming I could live the 15,000 years it would take me day and night to write that many digits - the result would start in my office, pass through my living room and kitchen, continue outside and across my back yard and my neighbor's yard too, and then down his street, across the freeway and the golf course and town center, all of San Diego County and over the mountains and through the deserts of California, Arizona and New Mexico, the entire South, continue across the Atlantic, bisect Africa, the Indian Ocean, through Australia and the Pacific, onto our beaches and across our canyons and industrial parks and finally into my neighborhood and across my street and my front yard and then back here into my office from the west. Ten times.

It's a long number. And since it's an infinite number, 1.2 trillion digits is just the first hint of a breath of the thought of the beginning of the actual number. It's not even begun as far as infinity is concerned.

Not that I ever think about this or anything.

Read The Rest HERE

July 18, 2005

The Mayor-Go-Round Continues...

This past Friday, July 15, San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy's resignation became official and he was replaced by Deputy Mayor Michael Zucchet. Zucchet will stand in as acting Mayor until a new Mayor is sworn in.

Check that, hold the presses. Today, Monday, July 17, Michael Zucchet was convicted on federal corruption charges in the San Diego Strippergate scandal, and is immediately suspended from the San Diego City Council, along with councilman Ralph Inzunza. Councilman Charles Lewis, who was indicted together with Zucchet and Inzunza, avoided this year's legal circus by dropping dead before the trial ever started.

So, the mayor was gone Friday and then the deputy mayor is gone just after lunchtime Monday, before the city council could even appoint another deputy mayor to take his place - you know, should something like a federal corruption conviction knock him out of office.

This afternoon whatever was left of the council appointed - now follow me closely on this one - a "temporary mayor pro tem". In other words, councilwoman Toni Atkins is mayor for a week. Next week the council will appoint a "permanent mayor pro tem" to cover the job. A permanent temporary mayor. But there's more:

The next day, July 26, will be the previously scheduled special election for mayor, and if none of the 11 candidates gets 50% of the vote then the run-off election on Nov. 8 will put the top 2 candidates head to head. (This time, there will be no write-in third candidate allowed to join the two-candidate run-off, like last year.)
So whomever is appointed permanent temporary mayor next Monday will possibly see his or her replacement elected the next day. I say we should have a new mayor appointed every single week of the year; this is fun.

If you're wondering how we get along here in San Diego: Planning is key.

For more information, I have no idea who you can call. Nobody's in.

Read The Rest HERE

July 05, 2005

At Least 1 Full Apostle Lost to Erosion in Australia

Year after year on the coast of Victoria, Australia a cluster of 9 limestone towers known as The Twelve Apostles has withstood constant tidal assaults by the Indian Ocean. In news today it was reported that one of the 150-foot towers has collapsed into the sea in front of a stunned family of sightseers.

On a sidenote, according to at least one loony, this event is somehow proof of a young earth. (Link=Rockstar's Ramblings)

A couple questions: If the badly named formation of 9 towers represented The 12 Apostles then does that leave 11 Apostles standing now, or 8? Or, if the 12 original apostles were represented proportionally amongst the 9 towers, at 1.33 apostles per, wouldn't that leave 10.66 apostles now?

And then, of course, which apostles have weathered away? Presumably Judas would be the one full apostle removed from the club, but then what about the 1/3 apostle? Perhaps Peter? (at a rate of .11 compensation for each instance of denying Jesus in one night. Did anyone happen to hear a cock crowing twice on the beach before the collapse?)

I'm assuming that the powers that be - the Park Service - intend on keeping the name The 12 Apostles. I mean, perhaps then the simplest solution would be to apply apostolic inflation and increase the current Apostle-Tower exchange rate from 1.33 Apostle per Tower, to 1.5 per. Would there be implications?
I'm not an economist, nor a prophet, so I can't predict the effects in Victoria State or even globally, in tweaking an exchange nearly 15% in one fell swoop.

Or might we assume from the name that maybe 12 apostles once stood there and that by implication 3 had already been lost to the sands of time before this week? I'm assuming just based on my limited knowledge of the actions of erosion in that part of Australia, perhaps thousands of apostles have stood guard there, since long before their namesakes even existed. Imagine that.

How about this: Could it be that this formation is really an indication of some grand coverup? Were there really only 9 Apostles to begin with? It wouldn't be a stretch to deduce that the same folks who once recorded their more ancient ancestors' ages as 600 years and 900 years plus, might also have padded the books when it came to counting Apostles... Hey, maybe there aren't any "lost tribes" of Israel either. And maybe "nine" is the true bakers' dozen?

Just asking.

Read The Rest HERE