Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on March 14, 2017—one day before I head to New Zealand. The snow abated here in late morning yesterday, leaving us with only about three inches in Chicago. We may, however, get several inches of “lake effect” snow today. But the northeast U.S. is set for a huge blizzard, with up to 18 inches of snow falling some places. In the U.S,  it’s National Potato Chip Day, while everywhere else it’s “Pi Day“, celebrating the date, written American style, as 3/14: the first three digits of pi (3.14159. . . ad infinitum). Last year it was even better because it was 3/14/16. (It’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday; see below.) Here’s a lovely pi pie:

I have the sad duty to report the death of Amy Krouse Rosenthal,  a well known writer of children’s books, who passed away yesterday of ovarian cancer, just ten days after the publication of her heart-wrenching piece in the New York Times, “You may want to marry my husband.” an ineffably sad farewell to her life and a paean to her husband’s virtues, perhaps in hope that she could secure him a new wife. Rosenthal was only 51. Do read her testament.

On this day in 1592, it was the “Ultimate Pi Day”, with the maximum possible correspondence between the digits of the date, 3/14/1592, and the digits of pi: 3.14159265358979323846. . .  I doubt it was celebrated at the time. In 1794, Eli Whitney was granted a patent on the cotton gin, which transformed the cotton growing industry by allowing seeds to be extracted mechanically. On March 14, 1964, Jack Ruby was convicted of murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, John F. Kennedy’s assassin. Ruby, granted a new trial three years later, died just before it of lung cancer. On March 14 three years later, JFK’s body was moved to Arlington National Cemetery.

Notables born on this day include Johann Strauss (1804), Victor Emmanuel II  (1820, the first king of a united Italy), Paul Ehrlich (1854, Nobel Laureate for his work on immunology), Casey Jones (1863), Albert Einstein (1879), Sylvia Beach (1887), Hank Ketcham (1920, creator of the “Dennis the Menace” comic strip), Diane Arbus (1923), Michael Caine (1933), and Billy Crystal (1948). Those who died on this day included Jacob van Ruisdael, (1682), Karl Marx (1883), Chic Young (1973, creator of the “Blondie” comic strip), and Peter Graves (2010), Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Cyrus lets Hili know who could be the boss if he had the genes and the inclination:

Cyrus: It’s good that I like you.
Hili: Why?
Cyrus: Because if I didn’t like you I would eat you and that wouldn’t be good.
In Polish:
Cyrus: Dobrze, że cie lubię.
Hili: Dlaczego?
Cyrus: Bo jakbym cię nie lubił, to bym cię zjadł, a to byłoby nie dobrze.
And out in Winnipeg, Gus spent some time in the cold, which always turns his nose a bright pink (I’ve suggested that his staff could take pictures of the nose at various outdoor temperatures and use the color as a thermometer). This photo is called “Mr. Pink Nose wants in”. (Notice his long leash, required by local law.)


  1. Posted March 14, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The Blizzard of ’17 is well under way!
    Happy Pi Day!

    • Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      jealous – I love snow! Sadly warm & sunny in London 😦

      • Graham Head
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Speak for yourself!

        • David Coxill
          Posted March 14, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          Wot you said.

          • Mike
            Posted March 16, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink


  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Did anyone figure out the possible dates in pi yet? That is, all the six consecutive numbers that can read from left to right as a date, little or big endian?

    • Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      If no one else has, ask Phil Rounds to do it – he has a snow day (see above)!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Since Pi is infinitely long, I would imagine it must contain every possible date somewhere in it.


      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        I forget – are they random?

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          “The digits appear to be randomly distributed. In particular, the digit sequence of π is conjectured to satisfy a specific kind of statistical randomness, but to date no proof of this has been discovered”

          Source : Wikipedia

  3. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Sorry to be a grinch, but I think Pi Day is pretty much confined to the US, since ‘everywhere else*’ it’s 14/3.
    (I have no idea how the date was conventionally written in 1592).
    It is National Pi Day after all; all the references on the Wikipedia Pi Day page are to US celebrations of it.

    There is also a National Pie Day (Jan 23rd) (with an ‘e’, thus co-opting that other great constant) sponsored by – the American Pie Council. (Lovely name, I wonder if they use Don McLean’s epic for a theme song?)

    However, elsewhere there is Pi Approximation Day which recognises 22/7 and dates back to Archimedes. The approximation, not the day. Apparently.

    * To a first approximation – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_format_by_country


    • jeremy pereira
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Yes, Pi Day is the 31st April, which I think is apt since Pi is a transcendental number and 31st April is a transcendental date (but in a different not-existing sense).

      However, if we agree to use ISO dates and ignore the year (to make it annual), we can then all agree on 14th March.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        ISO – that’s YYYY-MM-DD, isn’t it?

        There’s some logic in that, I’ve used it for files occasionally so they’ll sort into order automatically.

        But not all that many countries use it. Day-month-year is more common.


        • jeremy pereira
          Posted March 17, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          Correct. ISO dates are used in computing almost universally where a textual date is needed that has to be more machine processable than human processable e.g. when a date is needed as a key in a database table. They can also be extended to include a time and a time zone.

          Of the three major date orders, the US one is the least logical.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink


      Here is Pi in all the number bases up to hexadecimal: http://turner.faculty.swau.edu/mathematics/materialslibrary/pi/pibases.html

      I’d be surprised if there were no ‘correct’ Pi days in other number bases – especially binary & ternary

  4. bluemaas
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    O Cyrus: .what. simple yet t r u e profundity !


  5. BJ
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    At first, I thought that pie was a chai (the Hebrew letter), not a Pi.

  6. Posted March 14, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    “You may want to marry my husband” Just the title makes me tear up, knowing the story now.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Yeah. Not sure I could handle reading the article.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        I’m not going to read it for the same reason.

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted March 15, 2017 at 5:39 am | Permalink

          I read it, and had a good greet.

          Before she died (four years ago), Isobel used to say to me, “You’ll need to go out and find someone, Colin. You’ll be useless on your own!” It was her way of giving me permission to move on. I’m still working on it.

    • Posted March 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I hesitated too, but I read it. Overcome your fears! Yes, it’s ineffably sad, but sometimes that’s life. But it’s also heartening in a way.

  7. rickflick
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    We in the North East can report that the snow storm is true. It’s been snowing hard since some undermined hour late last night. We now have about 2.5 feet of snow and it’s still coming down in shopping bags full. If the power goes out I won’t be able to finish this senten

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I hope you stay safe and warm up there. I saw that the National Weather Service is calling the storm “life-threatening”.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        If power goes out, ya, I think some people depending on equipment could be at risk. We have a small Honda generator to keep our furnace running and chill the wine.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted March 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink


  8. George
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Check out what the Colorado Rockies did today. Some nerds run that team.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink


    • George
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      They do have the first 30 digits – through the second to the last guy in the picture wearing 27. Next digit would be 9 – already used. Or they needed a guy wearing 95.

    • Blue
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      O my ! THAT / they are just precious !
      Thank you, Mr George, for posting !

      My own mama turned 100 years old today, too ! This # though ? This # she turned … … inside her graveyard.

      Blue 🙂

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