15 Pi Day Gifts for the Math Fan in Your Life

iStock/pick-uppath
iStock/pick-uppath

March 14, the mathematic high holiday known as Pi Day, is right around the corner. To celebrate everyone's favorite irrational number, we've rounded up some gifts to help the math aficionados in your life—the ones who know that pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—observe Pi Day in proper fashion.

1. Pi Pie Pan

Pi-shaped pie pan.
Pi People, Amazon

If Pi Day passed and you didn't eat a pi pie, did Pi Day even happen? This specially shaped baking pan makes the equivalent volume of a 9-inch round pan, but obviously has more surface area than a standard pan. Pi puns and extra crust? Sounds like a win-win dessert.

Buy it on Amazon for $25.

2. I Eight Sum Pie Plates

Pair that pi pie with a set of these special plates decorated with a formula that spells out "imaginary unit eight summation pi"—or, essentially, "I ate some pie." Yes please!

Buy them at one of the retailers below:

3. Cutie Pi Unisex Onesie

Baby onesie that says
Threadrock, Etsy

Inspire a love of irrational numbers in the young mathematician-to-be in your life with this adorable cotton onesie, available in five colors for 6- to 24-month-olds.

Buy it on Etsy for $14.

4. Cheat Sheet Shower Curtain

We do our best thinking in the shower, and this machine-washable shower curtain is sure to inspire a stumped mathematician to finally figure out x once and for all.

Buy it on Society6 for $70.

5. Pi Mirrors Pie T-Shirt

Consider this equation: Math puns + affordability = this hilarious gift tee.

Buy it on $6 Dollar Shirts for … $6.

6. Mathematical Glasses

You'll be toasting to a gift well done after they open this set of four pint glasses measuring out the number of ounces in Pythagoras's constant, the Golden Ratio, Euler's number, and of course, pi.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

7. Quantum Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie

The cover of the 'Quantum Physics for Babies' book
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Amazon

It's never too early to get your budding mathematician hooked on STEM! This quantum physics intro is meant for 1- to 3-year-old kids, but it's a good refresher for adults to brush up on their knowledge, too.

Buy it on Amazon for $9.

8. Spiral Pi Tattoo

Spiral Pi tattoo
Anatomology, Amazon

This "classroom pack" of temporary tattoos means that when you and 44 of your closest pi pals practice memorizing pi's numerous digits, you never have to leave home without your cheat sheet.

Buy it on Amazon for $12.

9. Albert Clock

Definitely know your audience before gifting this head-scratcher of a clock. For some, the regular mental exercise to figure out the time will be a welcome brain teaser. For others, it could be a frustrating distraction. But, we think its namesake—it should be relatively easy to figure out which Albert it's referencing—would be a fan.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

10. Insanity Math Leggings

A pair of black leggings with math equations written on them
Insanity, Amazon

Spend your savasana meditating on the wonders of math in these equation-covered leggings.

Buy them on Amazon for $29.

11. Add And Subtract Abacus

Add and Subtract Abacus
Melissa & Doug, Amazon

Ancient calculators make great toys when it comes to this colorful bead toy aimed at kids 2 and up. But once the young ones hit grade school, this specially marked abacus will help them visualize arithmetic while still seeing the equations listed out.

Buy it on Amazon for $15 or at one of the retailers below:

12. Patterns of the Universe Coloring Book

This coloring book takes nature's best mathematical patterns and turns them into a soothing adult coloring book. Take a break from studying math's interconnected worlds, and just connect pencil to paper for a bit.

Buy it at Target for $10 or at one of the retailers below:

13. Pi Sign Cookie Cutters

Pi-shaped cookie cutters
Arbi Design, Amazon

Cookies are certainly easier to bake in bulk than pies. And if our math checks out, that means they will probably last a little longer, too. (Maybe.)

Buy them on Amazon for $5 and up.

14. Marbotic Smart Numbers

A hand moving wooden numbers around on top of a tablet
Marbotic, Amazon

This hands-on math game makes learning arithmetic engaging and entertaining, and can help kids 3 to 6 years old recognize units and solve basic additions and subtractions. These wooden letters come with three free apps that you pair with any iPad and most Samsung and Nexus tablets.

Buy it on Amazon for $40 or at one of the retailers below:

15. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

The cover of 'Hidden Figures'
William Morrow Paperbacks, Amazon

You saw the movie—now delve even deeper into the true stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and the other African-American women who worked at NASA as "human computers" during the Space Race. Margot Lee Shetterly's best-seller reveals just how much ground-breaking work these brilliant mathematicians truly did, even while dealing with both gender discrimination and the Jim Crow era. And if you haven't seen the movie, stream it on HBO or purchase it here.

Buy it on Amazon for $13.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

12 Intriguing Facts About the Intestines

When we talk about the belly, gut, or bowels, what we're really talking about are the intestines—long, hollow, coiled tubes that comprise a major part of the digestive tract, running from the stomach to the anus. The intestines begin with the small intestine, divided into three parts whimsically named the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, which absorb most of the nutrients from what we eat and drink. Food then moves into the large intestine, or colon, which absorbs water from the digested food and expels it into the rectum. That's when sensitive nerves in your rectum create the sensation of needing to poop.

These organs can be the source of intestinal pain, such as in irritable bowel syndrome, but they can also support microbes that are beneficial to your overall health. Here are some more facts about your intestines.

1. The intestines were named by medieval anatomists.

Medieval anatomists had a pretty good understanding of the physiology of the gut, and are the ones who gave the intestinal sections their names, which are still used today in modern anatomy. When they weren't moralizing about the organs, they got metaphorical about them. In 1535, the Spanish doctor Andrés Laguna noted that because the intestines "carry the chyle and all the excrement through the entire region of the stomach as if through the Ocean Sea," they could be likened to "those tall ships which as soon as they have crossed the ocean come to Rouen with their cargoes on their way to Paris but transfer their cargoes at Rouen into small boats for the last stage of the journey up the Seine."

2. Leonardo da Vinci believed the intestines helped you breathe.

Leonardo mistakenly believed the digestive system aided respiratory function. In 1490, he wrote in his unpublished notebooks, "The compressed intestines with the condensed air which is generated in them, thrust the diaphragm upwards; the diaphragm compresses the lungs and expresses the air." While that isn't anatomically accurate, it is true that the opening of the lungs is helped by the relaxation of stomach muscles, which does draw down the diaphragm.

3. Your intestines could cover two tennis courts ...

Your intestines take up a whole lot of square footage inside you. "The surface area of the intestines, if laid out flat, would cover two tennis courts," Colby Zaph, a professor of immunology in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at Melbourne's Monash University, tells Mental Floss. The small intestine alone is about 20 feet long, and the large intestine about 5 feet long.

4. ... and they're pretty athletic.

The process of moving food through your intestines requires a wave-like pattern of muscular action, known as peristalsis, which you can see in action during surgery in this YouTube video.

5. Your intestines can fold like a telescope—but that's not something you want to happen.

Intussusception is the name of a condition where a part of your intestine folds in on itself, usually between the lower part of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine. It often presents as severe intestinal pain and requires immediate medical attention. It's very rare, and in children may be related to a viral infection. In adults, it's more commonly a symptom of an abnormal growth or polyp.

6. Intestines are very discriminating.

"The intestines have to discriminate between good things—food, water, vitamins, good bacteria—and bad things, such as infectious organisms like viruses, parasites and bad bacteria," Zaph says. Researchers don't entirely know how the intestines do this. Zaph says that while your intestines are designed to keep dangerous bacteria contained, infectious microbes can sometimes penetrate your immune system through your intestines.

7. The small intestine is covered in "fingers" ...

The lining of the small intestine is blanketed in tiny finger-like protrusions known as villi. These villi are then covered in even tinier protrusions called microvilli, which help capture food particles to absorb nutrients, and move food on to the large intestine.

8. ... And you can't live without it.

Your small intestine "is the sole point of food and water absorption," Zaph says. Without it, "you'd have to be fed through the blood."

9. The intestines house your microbiome. 

The microbiome is made up of all kinds of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoans, "and probably used to include worm parasites too," says Zaph. So in a way, he adds, "we are constantly infected with something, but it [can be] helpful, not harmful."

10. Intestines are sensitive to change.

Zaph says that many factors change the composition of the microbiome, including antibiotics, foods we eat, stress, and infections. But in general, most people's microbiomes return to a stable state after these events. "The microbiome composition is different between people and affected by diseases. But we still don't know whether the different microbiomes cause disease, or are a result in the development of disease," he says.

11. Transferring bacteria from one gut to another can transfer disease—or maybe cure it.

"Studies in mice show that transplanting microbes from obese mice can transfer obesity to thin mice," Zaph says. But transplanting microbes from healthy people into sick people can be a powerful treatment for some intestinal infections, like that of the bacteria Clostridium difficile, he adds. Research is pouring out on how the microbiome affects various diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, and even autism.

12. The microbes in your intestines might influence how you respond to medical treatments.

Some people don't respond to cancer drugs as effectively as others, Zaph says. "One reason is that different microbiomes can metabolize the drugs differently." This has huge ramifications for chemotherapy and new cancer treatments called checkpoint inhibitors. As scientists learn more about how different bacteria metabolize drugs, they could possibly improve how effective existing cancer treatments are.

This 3D-Printed Sushi is Customized For You Based on the Biological Sample You Send In

Open Meals
Open Meals

Many high-end restaurants require guests to make a reservation before they dine. At Sushi Singularity in Tokyo, diners will be asked to send fecal samples to achieve the ideal experience. As designboom reports, the new sushi restaurant from Open Meals creates custom sushi recipes to fit each customer's nutritional needs.

Open Meals is known for its experimental food projects, like the "sushi teleportation" concept, which has robotic arms serving up sushi in the form of 3D-printed cubes. This upcoming venture takes the idea of a futuristic sushi restaurant to new extremes.

Guests who plan on dining at Sushi Singularity will receive a health test kit in the mail, with vials for collecting biological materials like urine, saliva, and feces. After the kit is sent back to the sushi restaurant, the customer's genome and nutritional status will be analyzed and made into a "Health ID." Using that information, Sushi Singularity builds personalized sushi recipes, optimizing ingredients with the nutrients the guest needs most. The restaurant uses a machine to inject raw vitamins and minerals directly into the food.

To make things even more dystopian, all the sushi at Sushi Singularity will be produced by a 3D-printer with giant robotic arms. The menu items make the most of the technology; a cell-cultured tuna in a lattice structure, powdered uni hardened with a CO2 laser, and a highly detailed model of a Japanese castle made from flash-frozen squid are a few of the sushi concepts Open Meals has shared.

The company plans to launch Sushi Singularity in Tokyo some time in 2020. Theirs won't be the first sushi robots to roll out in Japan: The food delivery service Ride On Express debuted sushi delivery robots in the country in 2017.

[h/t designboom]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER