# March 14, 2015 archive

## The Breakfast Club (3.14.15 Super Pi Day)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

Today is Pi (π) Day, how could we live without it. So let’s celebrate π on it’s day 3.14. This year it’s even more special because today’s date is 3.14.15 matching the first five digits of the mathematical constant. The next Super Pie Day won’t happen for another 100 years.

As you remember from grammar school math, π is the mathematical constant consisting of the main numbers 3, 1 and 4. According to the Wikipedia of π, “it is the the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159.”

It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes written as pi. π is an irrational number, which means that it cannot be expressed exactly as a ratio of two integers (such as 22/7 or other fractions that are commonly used to approximate π); consequently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern. The digits appear to be randomly distributed, although no proof of this has yet been discovered. π is a transcendental number – a number that is not the root of any nonzero polynomial having rational coefficients. The transcendence of π implies that it is impossible to solve the ancient challenge of squaring the circle with a compass and straight-edge.

OK, enough of that. Let’s get on to the party part.

It’s earliest known celebration was in California where in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium physicist Larry Shaw along with the staff and the public marched around one of its circular spaces eating fruit pies. In 2009. The US House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution declaring 3.14 π (Pi) Day. And in 2010, a French computer scientist claimed to have calculated pi to almost 2.7 trillion digits.

Coincidentally, it is also the birthday of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. So at Princeton University in New Jersey there are numerous celebrations around both events that also include an Albert Einstein look alike contest.

Besides the partying at Princeton, here’s what is going on elsewhere to celebrate this mathematical necessity that drives mathematicians nuts.

Celebrating Pi Day, a sweet time for scientists and pie lovers

By Steve Rubenstein. SFGate

It took the ancient Greeks and the infinite power of the circle to make it happen, but the California Academy of Sciences is opening four minutes early on Saturday.

It’s going to open at 9:26 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. And the reason for that is because pi, the ancient ratio that specifies how many times longer the circumference of a circle is than its diameter, is 3.1415926 … , with a particular emphasis on the 926. [..]

At the California Academy of Sciences, after throwing open the doors four minutes early, astronomers will celebrate by joining visitors in the dropping of Popsicle sticks. It’s a mathematical game in which the sticks are used to model the mathematical formula for pi. The best way to find out how that works, academy insiders say, is to show up and drop a few sticks yourself.

While astronomers are dropping Popsicle sticks, other astronomers at the Golden Gate Park academy will hold a “Pi in the Sky” lecture in which they will explain how they use pi to calculate the volume of planets outside the solar system. Pi works not only on Earth, but billions of light-years from Earth, too.

About 3.14 miles to the east, the Exploratorium is trying to one up the academy, pi-wise. Admission will be free, all Pi Day long.

‘Super Pi Day’ – 3.14.15 – will feature weddings, food specials as math nerds celebrate once-a-century date

By Sasha Goldstein, New York Daily News

Dana Emanuel and Byron Clarke both love pie – she the food, he the numerical constant (spelled pi). And Saturday’s date, 3.14.15, dubbed “Super Pi Day,” happens to be the first five digits of the infinite number, which represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and remains the same no matter the size of the circle.

The date won’t come around again for 100 years, so the couple decided it was a “no brainer,” set the date and printed off circular wedding invitations to dash off to dozens of family and friends. The nuptials will bring them full circle after they got engaged on June 28 last year – 6.28, or two pi. [..]

– Runners on New York City’s Roosevelt Island will take off on a 3.14-mile course at exactly 9:26:53 a.m. Saturday on what is billed as a “Girls Prep Ultimate Pi Day Pi K.”

– A variety of events will honor the Pi Day of the Century at Manhattan’s Museum of Mathematics on East 26th St.

– The math whizzes over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will let prospective students know if they’ve been admitted beginning at 9:26 a.m. on Saturday. The prestigious school announced the date with a two-minute video showing drones delivering the decisions.

– Greenwich Village pizzeria Ribalta will offer diners \$3.14 off their bill if they wish their server a Happy Pi Day.

– The American Pie Council has an activity packet filled (pdf) with pi- and pie-related fun, games and food ideas.

– Pie cups at all Hill Country Chicken locations will be on sale for \$3.14 on Saturday.

– Pie Corps in Greenpoint will offer a 10-inch pie for \$31.41, while a 4-inch mini pie will fetch \$3.14, according to DNAinfo.com, which highlighted five city spots featuring Pi Day pie specials.

In 2010’s “Moment of Geek”, Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” featured a math student teacher, Teresa Miller, from the University of New Mexico with a hula hoop and a Rubic’s Cube that was quite amazing.

I was never that energetic as a math student. Teresa should be a great math and phys ed teacher.

So, whatever you do today, eat something round and remember π.

## Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

Albert Einstein

## On This Day In History March 14

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 14 is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 292 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1885, The Mikado a light opera by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, had its first public performance in London.

The Mikado, or, The Town of Titipu is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations. It opened in London, where it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances, which was the second longest run for any work of musical theatre and one of the longest runs of any theatre piece up to that time. Before the end of 1885, it was estimated that, in Europe and America, at least 150 companies were producing the opera. The Mikado remains the most frequently performed Savoy Opera, and it is especially popular with amateur and school productions. The work has been translated into numerous languages and is one of the most frequently played musical theatre pieces in history.

Setting the opera in Japan, an exotic locale far away from Britain, allowed Gilbert to satirise British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese. Gilbert used foreign or fictional locales in several operas, including The Mikado, Princess Ida, The Gondoliers, Utopia, Limited and The Grand Duke, to soften the impact of his pointed satire of British institutions.

The Mikado is a comedy that deals with themes of death and cruelty. This works only because Gilbert treats these themes as trivial, even lighthearted issues. For instance, in Pish-Tush’s song “Our great Mikado, virtuous man”, he sings: “The youth who winked a roving eye/ Or breathed a non-connubial sigh/ Was thereupon condemned to die / He usually objected.” The term for this rhetorical technique is meiosis, a drastic understatement of the situation. Other examples of this are when self-decapitation is described as “an extremely difficult, not to say dangerous, thing to attempt”, and also as merely “awkward”. When a discussion occurs of Nanki-Poo’s life being “cut short in a month”, the tone remains comic and only mock-melancholy. Burial alive is described as “a stuffy death”. Finally, execution by boiling oil or by melted lead is described by the Mikado as a “humorous but lingering” punishment.

Death is treated as a businesslike event in Gilbert’s Topsy-Turvy world. Pooh-Bah calls Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, an “industrious mechanic”. Ko-Ko also treats his bloody office as a profession, saying, “I can’t consent to embark on a professional operation unless I see my way to a successful result.” Of course, joking about death does not originate with The Mikado. The plot conceit that Nanki-Poo may marry Yum-Yum if he agrees to die at the end of the month was used in A Wife for a Month, a 17th century play by John Fletcher. Ko-Ko’s final speech affirms that death has been, throughout the opera, a fiction, a matter of words that can be dispelled with a phrase or two: being dead and being “as good as dead” are equated. In a review of the original production of The Mikado, after praising the show generally, the critic noted that the show’s humour nevertheless depends on

“unsparing exposure of human weaknesses and follies-things grave and even horrible invested with a ridiculous aspect-all the motives prompting our actions traced back to inexhaustible sources of selfishness and cowardice…. Decapitation, disembowelment, immersion in boiling oil or molten lead are the eventualities upon which (the characters’) attention (and that of the audience) is kept fixed with gruesome persistence…. (Gilbert) has unquestionably succeeded in imbuing society with his own quaint, scornful, inverted philosophy; and has thereby established a solid claim to rank amongst the foremost of those latter-day Englishmen who have exercised a distinct psychical influence upon their contemporaries.”

## Random Japan

Why Korean and Japanese people can’t speak English, in their own words【Video】

KK Miller

Native English teachers who have worked in Korea or Japan have developed very strong opinions about the systematic approach each country takes when teaching English. Here at RocketNews24, we’ve previously talked about how all the focus is on test scores and how native English speakers are used as glorified tape-recorders. We’ve also mentioned that there are Japanese English teachers with limited ability to speak (let alone teach) the subject, textbooks that bore the students into a coma and students who are too afraid to try because they don’t want to make any mistakes.

We could go on and on about the issues plaguing the system, but in the end, it is just advice coming from outsiders. Perhaps the ones we need to hear more from are the students themselves. What better source of feedback is there than the people who have experienced the process first-hand and now live with the fruits of their studies, or lack thereof?

## The Mountain Finally Comes to Mohammed

It’s been nearly 5 years since two women in Sweden lodged charges of rape against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Swedish prosecutors have been seeking his extradition from England to question him regarding the allegations but Mr. Assange fearing that this was a ploy to have him extradited to the United States where he would be arrested and prosecuted for leaking secret documents that exposed US covering up war crimes. Lawyers for Mr. Assange said that the Swedish prosecutors could question him in England and they believe that would end the matter. However the prosecutors, claiming it would be inadequate to question him in England, went to British court seeking extradition. Mr. Assange then sought asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy. Now, after over four years and time running out on the statute of limitations on charging him, the Swedish prosecutor has agreed to question Mr. Assange in England. Frustrated and tired, Mr. Assange’s response was “They could have done this long ago. What took them so long?” The answer is probably the salivating US justice and state departments who would love nothing more that to get him to a country that would extradite him to the US over the espionage charges.

Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London

By David Crouch, The Guardian

Lawyers for Wikileaks founder welcome prosecutor’s decision to interview Assange at Ecuadorian embassy in bid to break deadlock

Marianne Ny, who heads the investigation into accusations of rape, coercion and sexual molestation against Assange, made a formal request to interrogate him in the Ecuadorian embassy – the first sign of movement in a case that has been frozen since August 2012.

The prosecutor will also ask the UK government and Ecuador for permission to carry out the interviews at the embassy in London, where Assange has been staying for more than two-and-a-half years to avoid extradition to Sweden, from where he fears being handed over to the US to face espionage charges.

Ny said she had changed her mind because the statute of limitations on several of the crimes of which Assange is suspected runs out in August 2015. [..]

The British Foreign Office said in November it would welcome a request by the Swedish prosecutor to question Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Ecuador’s government has also repeatedly stated that it approves of such a step. Assange has been wanted in Sweden since the accusations were made against him in August 2010.

His lawyers, who are currently appealing against his arrest warrant in Sweden’s highest court, have complained bitterly about the prosecutor’s refusal to travel to London to speak to him – an essential step under Swedish jurisprudence to establish whether Assange can be formally charged. [..]

The prosecutor’s apparent U-turn on Friday came just days after a supreme court judge in Stockholm wrote to the prosecutor general, directing him to give his opinion concerning Assange’s appeal, “especially regarding the investigatory procedure and the principle of proportionality”.

Further pressure on the prosecutor came in November when the appeal court, while rejecting Assange’s arguments, nonetheless directed sharp criticism at Ny for failing in her obligation to move the case forward.

It remains to be seen whether the charges of rape, that were brought by two women who were in a consensual relationship with Mr. Assange at the time, will result in an arrest warrant. There are a lot of questions about the women’s backgrounds and alleged connections with the CIA that would love to get their hands on Mr. Assange.

## Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Cutting Out the Meat With Mushrooms

A couple of years ago I gave you a recipe for a roasted mushroom base, a sort of vegetable Hamburger Helper that I had learned to make from Scott Samuels, a Culinary Institute of America chef. Chef Samuels combined it with ground beef to make delicious burgers. It has caught on among food service professionals who want to improve the nutritional profile of their offerings. Now they refer to it as, simply, “The Mix,” and they are keeping mushroom growers very busy.

~ Martha Rose Shulman ~

Roasted Mushroom Base

A delicious way to halve the amount of animal protein in a dish.

Mushrooms assure a moist texture and a delicious burger.

This sauce has only a small amount of meat, but still has a rich flavor and a meaty texture.

A beet adds moisture, texture and color to these almost-veggie burgers.

A complex, slightly sweet Eastern Mediterranean dish.