Sunday, March 14, 2010

Even Captain Solo strapped to a jetpack can calculate pi

- Happy pi day! (March 14 --- 03/14)  Hard to believe there is a number that occurs in the natural world that is infinite and never repeats itself.  That's the nature of pi.  If it did repeat itself, it wouldn't be a true circle. Here is an article explaining how pi works, and two articles about how you can easily calculate pi.  Neither article requires a degree in mathematics.  If you know how to add or multiply fractions, you can follow along.  We did the Monte Carlo method in my super-computer programming class a few weeks ago:

- Want to buy a jetpack for 86 grand?  Now you can, and you don't need a pilot's license or even a driver's license to use one in the U.S.  This sounds like the most legitimate personal flying device so far, but some obvious questions pop into my mind after reading this article...
1. How INSANELY dangerous would it be to actually use this thing!?!?
2. How fast does it go, and how far can it go?  The article only says it can fly for 30 minutes.
3. Can devices like this really become the future of personal travel?  Could we ever properly organize mass-travel using these contraptions and could we ever achieve a safety level high enough for the general public to accept this form of transportation?

- Ten best ad-libbed moments in movies.  Sorry, but the best one isn't even on the list.  In the Empire Strikes Back, Leia says to Solo, "I love you." and Solo immediately shoots back, "I know."  Harrison Ford was suppose to respond with, "I love you too", but convinced Lucas at the last moment to let him change the line.

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