Life Day 25082: The Life of Pi

March 14, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning mathematical constant fans. Today is March 14th. Today’s first holiday is Pi Day. Pi Day is celebrated today because March 14th (3·14) represents the number used in mathematics to represent a constant, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is approximately 3.14159. Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. It is an irrational number, and will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. The Greek letter “π” (Pi) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent it. Coincidentally, or perhaps not,  Albert Einstein, one the best mathematicians ever, was born on this date in 1879. If you are a mathematician, solve an equation that involves the use of “π”. If you are not a mathematician, have a slice ofPi(e) for a snack, or better yet, 3.14 pieces. Maybe not the healthiest decision, but certainly appropriate. This year, for the first time in a century, we get to really celebrate Pi Day because the date is 3·14·16, Pi rounded to four decimal places.

The next holiday is International Ask a Question Day. Did you know that today is Ask a Question Day? There, I have just started celebrating. Have you heard the old adage: “There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers?” Well, Ask a Question Day is the holiday to ask as many questions as you want.  Have you been curious about something, unclear about something, or perhaps just want more information on a given subject? If so, ask someone about it today.  The best way to learn is by asking questions. Albert Einstein once was quoted as saying, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.”

The third holiday today is National Napping Day. National Napping Day is always celebrated on the Monday following Daylight Saving Time. You lost a whole hour of sleep over the weekend and it seems only fair that you get it back. Contrary to what that ogre of a boss (you know, that guy who signs your paycheck and actually expects you to produce while you’re at work) might think, napping is built into our DNA. A mid-day nap is an integral part of the daily routine of many cultures, particularly those near the equator. Perhaps napping is  part of an evolutionary mechanism to get us out of the hot midday sun. National Napping Day was created by Boston University Professor William Anthony and his wife Camille in 1999. Napping Day is an unofficial holiday set aside to help people adjust to Daylight Saving Time and to promote health and productivity benefits of napping. I’m with you Prof.
Note: The author of this BLOG assumes no responsibility, financial or otherwise, if your boss fires you for sleeping on the job.

Another post Daylight Saving Time-related holiday today is Fill Our Staplers Day. Fill Our Staplers Day occurs twice a year, on the day after the Sunday when the clocks change. It encourages people, especially office workers, to refill their stapler, to minimizing the chances of a workplace crisis…such as running out of staples and not knowing where the office supply clerk stashes the extra supply. Is there anything more frustrating getting that stack of papers perfectly aligned, then reaching for the stapler only to find it is out of staples. Well, yes, there probably is, but still why not avoid the crisis by using this day as a reminder to fill your stapler…and lay in a supply sufficient to last you through until the next time the clocks change. Fill your staplers at home today as well.

The first entomology-related holiday today is Learn About Butterflies Day.  Butterflies are beautiful and delicate creatures. Soon, they will be flitting around your backyard going from flower to flower. Take some time today to learn more about butterflies, particularly those species of butterfly native to your region. Find out the types of flowers and plants they favor and plant some. This will attract them to your yard and give you hours of viewing opportunities.

The other entomology-related holiday today is Moth-er’s Day. No, that’s not a typo. Moth-er’s Day is  a day set aside to honor moth collectors and specialists. In a world with so much natural beauty, there’s one creature that is often overlooked: the moth. Moths are often feared, disliked or ignored. While butterflies seem to get all the attention, some species of moths are just as colorful as butterflies.
Moth-er’s Day is a great opportunity to learn about moths and even get involved with their conservation. It’s an ideal study opportunity for children, who will be fascinated to learn more about the life cycle of egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and moth.

You may be asking yourself: “What is the difference between a butterfly and a moth?” The answer is that butterflies and moths are closely related, and share many of the same characteristics such as wings covered with scales. In general, butterflies are very colorful and are active during the day, whereas, moths are drably colored and active at night. However, Mother Nature, being the impish prankster that she is, created quite a few exceptions to the above rule. The most definitive way to tell them apart, if you can get close enough, is by their antennae. A butterflies antennae are shaped like a golf club, with a long stem with a ‘club’ at the end. A moth’s antennae are either single filament tapering to a point at the end, or are very complicated structures with many cross filaments, resembling radar antennas. For more information about moths and/or butterflies go to either this website, or this one.

The food-related holiday today is National Potato Chip Day. Just about everyone likes potato chips. Potato chips come in a variety of styles; regular, thick-cut ridged, and kettle-cooked, and they come in so many different flavors these days it is often hard to decide which to choose. Some of the most popular flavors, besides original, are sour cream and onion, barbecue, and salt and vinegar; but there are more exotic flavors available in ethnic specialty shops, such as seaweed, buffalo wing, and ketchup.
You might be asking: All that is well and good, but, “Who invented the potato chip?” Well, according to the Snack Food Association, the potato chip was born on August 24, 1853 in elegant dining room at the fashionable Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga, New York. A testy older diner, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (yes of “the” Vanderbilt family), sent his food back to the kitchen, complaining that the fried potatoes were not sliced thin enough and were too soggy. The chef, George Crum, cut and fried a thinner batch, but these, too, were rejected. Equally testy, Crum decided to fight back by slicing the potatoes wafer-thin, frying them to a crisp in boiling oil and over-salting them. They were too crisp to eat: they could not be pierced with a fork without shattering, and no gentleman of the day would have dreamed of picking up food with his fingers at the dining table. However, to chef Crum’s  surprise, his fit of pique was rewarded with compliments to the chef: the Commodore much loved the “crunch potato slices.” Other diners requested the potatoes (“I’ll have what he’s having”), and eventually, they appeared on the menu as Saratoga Chips, a house specialty. Soon the chips were packaged and sold, first locally, then throughout the New England area. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Celebrating this crunchy holiday is a no-brainer…have some of your favorite style and flavor potato chips, mundane or exotic, today. If you’re feeling adventureous, try making some home-made potato chips for a change. I know it’s a pain, but well worth the effort…at least you’ll be able to pronounce the ingredients.

On this date in 2002 – A Scottish appeals court upheld the conviction of a Libyan intelligence agent for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. A five-judge court ruled unanimously that Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was guilty of bringing down the plane over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Other noteworthy historical events which occurred on this date are:

  • In 1489 – Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, sold her kingdom to Venice. She was the last of the Lusignan dynasty.
  • In 1629 –  A Royal charter was granted to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • In 1794 – Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin.
  • In 1860 – The first baseball cap was designed.
  • In 1891 – The submarine Monarch laid telephone cable along the bottom of the English Channel to prepare for the first telephone links across the Channel.
  • In 1900 – U.S. currency went on the gold standard with the ratification of the Gold Standard Act.
  • In 1901 – Utah Governor Heber M. Wells vetoed a bill that would have relaxed restrictions on polygamy.
  • In 1903 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Hay-Herran Treaty that guaranteed the U.S. the right to build a canal at Panama. The Columbian Senate rejected the treaty.
  • In 1914 – Henry Ford announced the new continuous motion method to assemble cars. The process decreased the time to make a car from 12½ hours to 93 minutes.
  • In 1923 – President Harding became the first U.S. President to file an income tax report.
  • In 1932 – George Eastman, the founder of the Kodak company, committed suicide.
  • In 1943 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly in an airplane while in office.
  • In 1947 – The U.S. signed a 99-year lease on naval bases in the Philippines.
  • In 1951 – U.N. forces recaptured Seoul for the second time during the Korean War.
  • In 1958 – The U.S. government suspended arms shipments to the Batista government of Cuba.
  • In 1964 – A Dallas jury found Jack Ruby guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • In 1967 – John F. Kennedy’s body was moved from a temporary grave to a permanent one.
  • In 1981 – Three Pakistani airline hijackers surrendered in Syria after they had exchanged 100 passengers and crewmen for 54 Pakistani prisoners.
  • In 1989 – Imported assault guns were banned in the U.S. under President George H.W. Bush.
  • In 1995 – American astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American to enter space aboard a Russian rocket.
  • In 2003 – Robert Blake was released from jail on a $1.5 million bond. Blake had been jailed for the murder of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following luminaries:

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