Saturday, March 14, 2015
Excellent science writing

Nice piece on Pi Day in the Satan-Review, written by a columnist who has a close acquaintance with the idea. His wife's father is the originator of Pi Day! Good mix of personal and mathematical info, no errors or misleading crap.

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In my current cranky mood I'm inclined to focus on the bad side of pi. As typically used in physics courses, pi is an unnecessary barrier to learning and thinking. Physics texts express every angle, and every angular velocity and angular distance, in terms of radians instead of degrees. This prevents you from seeing repetitions and phase relationships because pi is irrational and not evenly divisible. Degrees are the right size to let you count and estimate in whole numbers, and base 60 makes them nicely divisible by all the common fractions.

Yes, you can write things like pi/2 or pi/6, but these are deceptive because the whole circle is 2pi, not pi. Thus pi/2 looks like it should mean a half circle, but in fact it's a quarter circle.

Quick example, misusing recent picture because it's handy:

How far does Happystar rotate each way? If you're thinking in degrees, you can see it and calculate it mentally. Two and a quarter full circles. Twice 360 plus 90 = 810 degrees.

If you're thinking in physics terms, Happystar rotates 14.137 radians each way. This number can't be divided into full circles. You can't reach it by estimating. It doesn't tell you anything about REPETITION, and doesn't give you a feel for what's REALLY HAPPENING here.

"Scientists" always fail to consider cycles and periodicity. I don't know which way the causation runs. Do they miss periodicity because they're accustomed to thinking in non-divisible measurements? Or are they comfy with radians because they don't think in periods? In either case they're costing us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives with their essential misunderstanding of Nature. Motherfucking mass-murdering all-consuming all-destroying psychopathic monsters.