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The Mathematical Pi Song

Two weeks ago I wrote about The Story of Pi, a semi-educational retro video that visually explains Pi. One commenter (lynn) pointed out a song I hadn't heard before, The Pi Song by Antoni Chan and Ken Ferrier. I present it below for your weekend edutainment. Set to the tune of the classic Don McLean song "American Pie," this is kind of a hoot. (NOTE: the video below is just the first part; for the whole thing check out this video.)

Complete lyrics after the jump.

A long, long time ago,
Long before the Super Bowl and things like lemonade,
The Hellenic Republic was full of smarts,
And a question resting on the Grecian hearts was;
What is the circumference of a circle?",
But they were set on rational numbers,
And it ranks among their biggest blunders,
They worked on it for years,
And confirmed one of their biggest fears,
I can't be certain if they cried when irrationality was realised,
But something deep within them died,
The day, they discovered, Pi.

They were thinking;
Pi, pi, mathematical pi,
3.14 15 92,
65 35 89 7,
932384 62,
6433832 7 (not rounded).

Well this kind of Pi is different than most,
It hasn't got berries, ain't spread on toast,
And that's how it's always been,
We keep extending its decimal places,
Pushing our computers through their paces,
But we'll never reach the end,
So why the fascination with,
A number whose end is just a myth?
Whence the adulation,
For mental masturbation,
It might have something to do with the stars,
To calculate distances from afar,
But that's just a guess 'bout the way things are,
Regarding the precision of Pi,

I am pondering;
Pi, pi, mathematical pi
3.14 15 92
65 35 89 7
932384 62
6433832 7

Now I feel that I should mention,
Pi is applicable in any dimension,
At least as far as I know,
If there were no Pi we'd be missing things,
Like marbles and mugs and balls of string,
And sports, such as soccer and curling,
The orbs in their celestial paths,
Navigate along elliptical graphs,
Ellipses have pi in them too,
Just one side of them has grew,
You can see pi in most everything,
It's in Cornell's Electron Storage Ring,
And also in slinkies and other springs,
And that's why it's important to know pi,

You should memorize,
Pi, pi, mathematical pi,
3.14 15 92,
65 35 89 7,
932384 62,
6433832 7,

Once one night I had a dream,
That pi was gone and I had to scream,
Cause all pi things had disappeared.
Can you imagine a world like that?
Circles aren't round and spheres are flat,
It's the culmination of everything we've feared,
'Twas a nightmare of epic proportions,
One that gave me brain contortions,
Oh wait! I mean contusions,
They put me in some institutions,
But then I escaped and now I'm free!

To sing of the virtue of pi,
Pi, pi, mathematical pi,
3.14 15 92,
65 35 89 7,
932384 62,
6433832 7.

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Space
SpaceX's Landing Blooper Reel Shows That Even Rocket Scientists Make Mistakes
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches.
AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

On March 30, 2017, SpaceX did something no space program had done before: They relaunched an orbital class rocket from Earth that had successfully achieved lift-off just a year earlier. It wasn't the first time Elon Musk's company broke new ground: In December 2015, it nailed the landing on a reusable rocket—the first time that had been done—and five months later landed a rocket on a droneship in the middle of the ocean, which was also unprecedented. These feats marked significant moments in the history of space travel, but they were just a few of the steps in the long, messy journey to achieve them. In SpaceX's new blooper reel, spotted by Ars Technica, you can see just some of the many failures the company has had along the way.

The video demonstrates that failure is an important part of the scientific process. Of course when the science you're working in deals with launching and landing rockets, failure can be a lot more dramatic than it is in a lab. SpaceX has filmed their rockets blowing up in the air, disintegrating in the ocean, and smashing against landing pads, often because of something small like a radar glitch or lack of propellant.

While explosions—or "rapid unscheduled disassemblies," as the video calls them—are never ideal, some are preferable to others. The Falcon 9 explosion that shook buildings for miles last year, for instance, ended up destroying the $200 million Facebook satellite onboard. But even costly hiccups such as that one are important to future successes. As Musk once said, "If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

You can watch the fiery compilation below.

[h/t Ars Technica]

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Health
8 Potential Signs of a Panic Attack
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iStock

It's not just fear or worry. In fact, many panic attacks don’t look like panic at all. Panic attacks come on rapidly, and often at times that don't seem to make sense. The symptoms of panic disorder vary from person to person and even from attack to attack for the same person. The problems listed below are not unique to panic attacks, but if you're experiencing more than one, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor either way.

1. YOU'RE DIZZY.

Doctors sometimes call the autonomic nervous system (ANS) the "automatic nervous system" because it regulates many vital bodily functions like pumping blood all on its own, without our having to think about it. Panic attacks often manifest through the ANS, leading to increased heart rate or decreased blood pressure, which can in turn lead to feeling lightheaded or faint.

2. YOU'RE LOSING YOURSELF.

Feeling detached from yourself is called depersonalization. Feeling detached from the world, or like it's fake or somehow unreal, is called derealization. Both forms of dissociation are unsettling but common signs that a panic attack has begun.

3. YOU'RE QUEASY.

Our digestive system is often the first body part to realize that something is wrong. Panic sends stress hormones and tension to the gut and disrupts digestion, causing nausea, upset stomach, or heartburn.

4. YOU FEEL NUMB OR TINGLY.

Panic attacks can manifest in truly surprising ways, including pins and needles or numbness in a person's hands or face.

5. YOU'RE SWEATY OR SHIVERING.

The symptoms of a panic attack can look a lot like the flu. But if you don't have a fever and no one else has chattering teeth, it might be your ANS in distress.

6. YOU KNOW THE WORST IS COMING.

While it may sound prophetic or at least bizarre, a sense of impending doom is a very common symptom of panic attacks (and several other conditions). 

7. BREATHING IS DIFFICULT.

The ANS strikes again. In addition to the well-known problems of hyperventilation or shortness of breath, panic attacks can also cause dyspnea, in which a person feels like they can't fill their lungs, and feelings of choking or being smothered.

8. YOU'RE AFRAID OF HAVING A PANIC ATTACK. 

Oddly enough, anxiety about anxiety is itself a symptom of anxiety and panic attacks. Fear of losing control or getting upset can cause people to avoid situations that could be triggering, which can in turn limit their lives. 

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