Pi – Oh, My!

Posted in Humor on January 13th, 2009 by MadDog
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One day a dismayed barley farmer discovered this mess in one of his fields:

What a ridiculous waste of time!

Call it an alien artefact, call it art, or as I prefer, call it vandalism – it is mildly amusing regardless.

Yesterday evening, as I was pouring over the latest issue of Science,  the weekly journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, I saw this interesting diagram superimposed over a photo of the crop circle:

Yes, idiot aliens!  We already know the value of Pi.

Forgive me if you’ve already heard all about this and are bored to distraction by it, but it was news to me that somebody had gone to all the bother of squashing down all of that potential beer just to prove that he (rather they – it was unlikely a one-man job) is educated enough to know the value of Pi.

If you’ve not already figured out how it works from the illustration above, then have a look at this delightfully clear explanation:

As if it weren't clear enough already.

As much as it pains me, I must admit that I see a certain warped cleverness in the design.  It’s very clear, once you work it out.  The decimal point is there.   At the end of the series, there is the standard ellipsis – the symbol that math geeks use to show that the numbers go on and on.

So, what?

Well, as I see it, there are three possibilities here:   (A) God did it,   (B) Aliens did it,   (C) Somebody else did it.

If A is true, then we are well and truly bamboozled.    I suppose this is the primary reason why this hypothesis is so seldom put forward in the case of crop circles.

Hypothesis B is intriguing, but begs the question:   WHY?

If aliens are having problems remembering the value of Pi, I might suggest that they find a more permanent way of recording it.   If they are trying to tell us something, then why not tell us something that we don’t obviously already know.  If they are trying to show us how intelligent and advanced they are  –  hmmmm . . . I’m not impressed.  Are you?

If you want to see how absolutely whacky people can become when contemplating crop circles seriously, check this link. I’m particularly amused by the person who, by eccentric mathematical wizardry, calculates that the barley etching represents the number 666 – the MARK OF THE BEAST!  Wooooooo . . .

My guess (and I freely admit that it is a guess) is that hypothesis C is correct.  I’m simultaneously surprised and unsurprised that nobody has taken credit for this bit of horse pucky.   It is, in fact, a beautiful and elegant example of blending art, mathematics, and skulduggery into one breathtaking . . . whatever.   I’d think someone would be proud in a perverted sort of way.   Nevertheless, it is hopelessly frivolous.   I’d think that one would be ashamed of demonstrating triteness on such a grand scale.

Some things are bad for you if you take them too seriously.

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