# 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?
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.

Apeel
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Food
New Plant-Based Coating Can Keep Your Avocados Fresh for Twice as Long
Apeel

Thanks to a food technology startup called Apeel Sciences, eating fresh avocados will soon be a lot easier. The Bill Gates–backed company has developed a coating designed to keep avocados fresh for up to twice as long as traditional fruit, Bloomberg reports, and these long-lasting avocados will soon be available at 100 grocery stores across the Midwestern U.S. Thirty or so of the grocery stores involved in the limited rollout of the Apeel avocado will be Costcos, so feel free to buy in bulk.

Getting an avocado to a U.S. grocery store is more complicated than it sounds; the majority of avocados sold in the U.S. come from California or Mexico, making it tricky to get fruit to the Midwest or New England at just the right moment in an avocado’s life cycle.

Apeel’s coating is made of plant material—lipids and glycerolipids derived from peels, seeds, and pulp—that acts as an extra layer of protective peel on the fruit, keeping water in and oxygen out, and thus reducing spoilage. (Oxidation is the reason that your sliced avocados and apples brown after they’ve been exposed to the air for a while.) The tasteless coating comes in a powder that fruit producers mix with water and then dip their fruit into.

Apeel

According to Apeel, coating a piece of produce in this way can keep it fresh for two to three times longer than normal without any sort of refrigeration of preservatives. This not only allows consumers a few more days to make use of their produce before it goes bad, reducing food waste, but can allow producers to ship their goods to farther-away markets without refrigeration.

Avocados are the first of Apeel's fruits to make it to market, but there are plans to debut other Apeel-coated produce varieties in the future. The company has tested its technology on apples, artichokes, mangos, and several other fruits and vegetables.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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15 Facts About the Summer Solstice
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It's the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, so soak up some of those direct sunrays (safely, of course) and celebrate the start of summer with these solstice facts.

#### 1. THIS YEAR IT'S JUNE 21.

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The summer solstice always occurs between June 20 and June 22, but because the calendar doesn't exactly reflect the Earth's rotation, the precise time shifts slightly each year. For 2018, the sun will reach its greatest height in the sky for the Northern Hemisphere on June 21 at 6:07 a.m. Eastern Time.

#### 2. THE SUN WILL BE DIRECTLY OVERHEAD AT THE TROPIC OF CANCER.

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While the entire Northern Hemisphere will see its longest day of the year on the summer solstice, the sun is only directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer (23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude).

#### 3. THE NAME COMES FROM THE FACT THAT THE SUN APPEARS TO STAND STILL.

CARL DE SOUZA, AFP/Getty Images

The term "solstice" is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because the sun's relative position in the sky at noon does not appear to change much during the solstice and its surrounding days. The rest of the year, the Earth's tilt on its axis—roughly 23.5 degrees—causes the sun's path in the sky to rise and fall from one day to the next.

#### 4. THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BONFIRE WAS PART OF A SOLSTICE CELEBRATION.

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Celebrations have been held in conjunction with the solstice in cultures around the world for hundreds of years. Among these is Sankthans, or "Midsummer," which is celebrated on June 24 in Scandinavian countries. In 2016, the people of Ålesund, Norway, set a world record for the tallest bonfire with their 155.5-foot celebratory bonfire.

#### 5. THE HOT WEATHER FOLLOWS THE SUN BY A FEW WEEKS.

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You may wonder why, if the solstice is the longest day of the year—and thus gets the most sunlight—the temperature usually doesn't reach its annual peak until a month or two later. It's because water, which makes up most of the Earth's surface, has a high specific heat, meaning it takes a while to both heat up and cool down. Because of this, the Earth's temperature takes about six weeks to catch up to the sun.

#### 6. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE GATHER AT STONEHENGE TO CELEBRATE.

Rollo Maughfling, the Archdruid of Glastonbury and Stonehenge, conducts a Solstice celebration service for revelers as they wait for the midsummer sunrise at Stonehenge on June 21, 2012, near Salisbury, England.
Matt Cardy, Getty Images

People have long believed that Stonehenge was the site of ancient druid solstice celebrations because of the way the sun lines up with the stones on the winter and summer solstices. While there's no proven connection between Celtic solstice celebrations and Stonehenge, these days, thousands of modern pagans gather at the landmark to watch the sunrise on the solstice.

#### 7. PAGANS CELEBRATE THE SOLSTICE WITH SYMBOLS OF FIRE AND WATER.

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In Paganism and Wicca, Midsummer is celebrated with a festival known as Litha. In ancient Europe, the festival involved rolling giant wheels lit on fire into bodies of water to symbolize the balance between fire and water.

#### 8. IN ANCIENT EGYPT, THE SOLSTICE HERALDED THE NEW YEAR.

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In Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice preceded the appearance of the Sirius star, which the Egyptians believed was responsible for the annual flooding of the Nile that they relied upon for agriculture. Because of this, the Egyptian calendar was set so that the start of the year coincided with the appearance of Sirius, just after the solstice.

#### 9. THE ANCIENT CHINESE HONORED THE YIN ON THE SOLSTICE.

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In ancient China, the summer solstice was the yin to the winter solstice's yang—literally. Throughout the year, the Chinese believed, the powers of yin and yang waxed and waned in reverse proportion to each other. At the summer solstice, the influence of yang was at its height, but the celebration centered on the impending switch to yin. At the winter solstice, the opposite switch was honored.

#### 10. IN ALASKA, THE SOLSTICE IS CELEBRATED WITH A MIDNIGHT BASEBALL GAME.

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Each year on the summer solstice, the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks celebrate their status as the most northerly baseball team on the planet with a game that starts at 10:00 p.m. and stretches well into the following morning—without the need for artificial light—known as the Midnight Sun Game. The tradition originated in 1906 and was taken over by the Goldpanners in their first year of existence, 1960.

#### 11. THE EARTH IS ACTUALLY AT ITS FARTHEST FROM THE SUN DURING THE SOLSTICE.

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You might think that because the solstice occurs in summer that it means the Earth is closest to the sun in its elliptical revolution. However, the Earth is actually closest to the sun when the Northern Hemisphere experiences winter and is farthest away during the summer solstice. The warmth of summer comes exclusively from the tilt of the Earth's axis, and not from how close it is to the sun at any given time.

#### 12. IRONICALLY, THE SOLSTICE MARKS A DARK TIME IN SCIENCE HISTORY.

Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Legend has it that it was on the summer solstice in 1633 that Galileo was forced to recant his declaration that the Earth revolves around the Sun; even with doing so, he still spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

#### 13. AN ALTERNATIVE CALENDAR HAD AN EXTRA MONTH NAMED AFTER THE SOLSTICE.

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In 1902, a British railway system employee named Moses B. Cotsworth attempted to institute a new calendar system that would standardize the months into even four-week segments. To do so, he needed to add an extra month to the year. The additional month was inserted between June and July and named Sol because the summer solstice would always fall during this time. Despite Cotsworth's traveling campaign to promote his new calendar, it failed to catch on.

#### 14. IN ANCIENT GREECE, THE SOLSTICE FESTIVAL MARKED A TIME OF SOCIAL EQUALITY.

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The Greek festival of Kronia, which honored Cronus, the god of agriculture, coincided with the solstice. The festival was distinguished from other annual feasts and celebrations in that slaves and freemen participated in the festivities as equals.

#### 15. ANCIENT ROME HONORED THE GODDESS VESTA ON THE SOLSTICE.

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In Rome, midsummer coincided with the festival of Vestalia, which honored Vesta, the Roman goddess who guarded virginity and was considered the patron of the domestic sphere. On the first day of this festival, married women were allowed to enter the temple of the Vestal virgins, from which they were barred the rest of the year.

A version of this list originally ran in 2015.

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