Saturday, July 02, 2005

I'm guessing Aronofsky stopped at about fifty, tops

I remember a dear friend and former roommate of mine coming back to our campus apartment one night and showing off a stack of maybe twenty pages with very tiny numbers crammed together in rows. He proclaimed that it was pi calculated to the whatever thousandth decimal and that it was very, very cool. Apparently he's not the only one to think so (via Boing Boing):

A Japanese mental health counsellor has broken the world record for reciting pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, from memory.

Akira Haraguchi, 59, managed to recite the number's first 83,431 decimal places, almost doubling the previous record held by another Japanese.

He had to stop three hours into his recital after losing his place, and had to start from the beginning.

Mr Haraguchi had already recited the ratio up to about 54,000 digits last September, but was forced to drop the challenge when the facility hosting the event closed for the night.

The article also mentions that supercomputers have so far calculated pi to 1.24 trillion decimal places and that it has become extremely useful in all sorts of sciences. My question is, given that the computer already has it calculated to such a length, is it really all that useful for one person to have so much of it memorized?

Of course, this criticism is coming from a man who prides himself in knowing the extensive resumes of the entire cast of Alien, so pots and kettles and so forth.


David Bruce Murray said...

If he quoted pi to 54,000 places last year, why wasn't that considered to be the current record which he broke this year?

I understand he had to stop last year, but you'd think since he had already beaten the previous record by 10,000, then that should have been the current record.

Alonzo Mosley (FBI) said...

It's a good point. The only thing I can think of is that it's a rule akin to billiards: If you call a shot and sink a different ball by accident, it doesn't count.

Maki said...

There's nothing wrong with knowing everything there is to know about the cast of Alien. Especially when it's a cast that includes Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto and Sigourney Weaver...