March 14, 3-14, also known as “Pi Day,” is a pseudo-mathematical holiday where people get all excited over the date being equal to the mathematical constant pi. From here on out I’m going to use the actual pi for pi, π, mostly because it looks cool and is what math people use. Pi is just an english bastardization of the actual greek letter π anyways. π is pretty damn cool, being all mathematical and shit, but π Day is fucking stupid. Here’s why.
What is π?
π is a pretty important mathematical constant, and probably the most fundamental mathematical constant depending on who you ask. (I’m partial to e, but most people don’t make it far enough through math to really understand the beauty of e. That’s probably nice because we don’t have to worry about friends spamming Facebook about e day, whatever that would be.) It isn’t just some random number either; the value of π is inherently built into the universe and if God designed the universe, he had to purposefully work π into it as a fundamental constant. It’s that important. π is usually defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is the same for all circles. Besides this, π seems to creep up in all sorts of places even where circles aren’t apparent; in an alternate version of angle measurements, π is also considered to be an 180 degree angle. π’s importance is an understatement and you can’t really blame people for liking this idea of “π Day.” But some of the things that make π as cool as it is are the very things that make π Day Suck.
π is Irrational
For those of you who happened to fall through the cracks of the American education system, you might not know that a key attribute of π is that it is irrational. In this case irrational isn’t synonymous with “Donald Trump,” it means that the number cannot be written as a fraction. π, being irrational, cannot actually be fully written out; the decimal value of the damn thing keeps going forever. That isn’t a figure of speech either, the decimal expansion of π is truly infinite. This is a pretty insane property and is the first reason that π day is stupid. First, here, have some π to whatever amount of decimal places:
Cool. Math! π!
Since π is irrational, you can never actually get to the true value of it. Most people consider March 14 to be π day, because it’s usually denoted at 3-14. Sort of like how π is 3.14! But π isn’t 3.14. It’s that never ending amount of digits that I sort of posted above, but that’s not π anymore than 3.14 is. It’s closer, but still is an approximation. 3.14 is just a bullshit approximation, and a pretty terrible one at that. If you want to be extra precise about it, you might want to celebrate π day at 1:59 (a.m. or p.m.?), or maybe if you want to use 24-hour time, at 15:92. Oh wait, that doesn’t work because there is only 60 minutes in an hour! Whoops. Or maybe you want to celebrate it at 0.159 of the day on the 14th. That would be at 3:49 a.m. by the way. But this is all stupid because…
Our Time Measurements are Arbitrary
There is nothing special about 3-14. In fact, if you write the date as 3-14-17 that isn’t π. π Day last year was 3-14-16, which was slightly cooler because of rounding and the year being accurate. But what if you write the date as 3-14-2016? That doesn’t make shit for sense. Hell, even some people write the date starting with the year, and then the month, and this π day would be 2017-03-14; π doesn’t start with 2017 at all.
I haven’t written it yet as a post, but the calendar Sucks due to this arbitrariness. Just because we call this month “the third month” doesn’t actually make it mean anything special or plop a meaningful 3 on anything. You might want to call π day by its monthly number, such as 3.14159 months passed from the beginning of the year, but this would put the day on April 4th. This is because January would be month 0 through 0.999, sort of like how the first set of digits don’t have 1s in front of them. March 14 is also the 73rd day of the year, and I don’t get how that is anymore π than anything else. We could celebrate it on the 314 day of the year too! What if you consider the entire year to be the circumference of a circle? Then π Day would be the 116th day of the year, whenever that is (365/π≈116). Like a pie (get it??), π Day can be all sorts of days depending on how you mess around with numbers. 3-14 isn’t anything special; it’s just how our stupid-ass calendar works.
π, Pi, and Pie
People also get excited because π sounds a lot like pie, and pie is a sweet, tasty, edible treat. But pie and π have nothing in common at all, except for the fact that you can calculate the area and volume of your pie using π (because most pies are circular). Pie being involved on π Day is just another reason to roll your eyes at the whole affair. “π and pie? THEY SOUND THE SAME!” What a coincidence…It blows my mind…
But Math is So Kewl!!! XD
I love math. I love math probably more than anyone else I know. I’m the guy going around yelling at the kids when they blurt out, “But when am I going to use this!?” Math is bigly underappreciated and will probably become even more so in our growing age of ignorance, which is depressing. With how bastardized math and science are in education and society is it any surprise that decent jobs are being outsourced? ANYWAYS…
It is cool to have some enthusiasm about math, but π Day just seems so…contrived. It has nothing to do with what π actually is–a fundamental mathematical constant that is built into the universe itself–and more to do with an arbitrary date and perhaps looking cool. It’s a fake, popular, mathematical sort of enthusiasm that has little actual purpose. Just because someone posts a bunch of π shit on the 14th doesn’t mean they appreciate math or π anymore than anyone else. It almost screams, “Look at me! I’m a geek! Math is cool! π! Lol such a dork.” Obviously, some people observe the day with some knowledge and respect for π, and that’s cool, but you know damn well there are others going way overboard for no damn reason other than they can. Math is cool, underappreciated, incredibly useful in the world, and π Day just seems kind of a “meh” way of going about celebrating a much-loved mathematical constant. And I doubt it does much to improve the standing of math in our culture. Hopefully I’m wrong though.
…But Fuck Potato Chip Day
While lurking on the Facebooks today, I also realized that today is supposedly “National Potato Chip Day.” Yeah, I’m serious. Do a Google Search. As much as I’m griping about π Day, who the fuck celebrates Potato Chip Day? And if you are going to celebrate potato chip day, why would you hold it on π Day? Remember how I said math is underappreciated in our society? I just imagine a bunch of potato-chip-corporate-fat-cats trying to pick a day for their “holiday,” and by being totally ignorant of anything mathematical they pick 3-14 not realizing it’s π Day. As dumb as π day is, it’s a hell of a lot cooler than National Potato Chip Day. That’s really fucking stupid.