Happy Tau Day 2011!

28 June 2011

Dear readers, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Tau Day this year.

My Tau Day started with a mass email from Michael Hartl (creator of the Tau Manifesto, newly updated today), which linked to What Tau Sounds Like, a terrifically timely video from Michael John Blake.  If you haven’t watched it yet, you should.  (This video made the internet rounds today, including this CNN article which follows up on their Pi Day Half Tau Day article.)

As the CNN article reminds us, Tau Day is currently a holiday without any particular traditions or practices.  I’ve already done my part by proposing the official dessert.   Tau Day is a holiday with delicious potential.

Tau Eve 2011 Taue (cut)

blackberry / apple taue baked for Tau Eve 2011

I made that one yesterday (lesson learned: blackberry filling is runny, should have been the bottom layer).  Today I made this one.

Tau Day 2011 Taue (uncut)

blueberry-cherry taue, baked for Tau Day 2011

We haven’t cut into that one yet.  The next one I plan to make will have a blueberry spice layer and an apricot layer, but it may be a while before I feel the need for more pie, taue, or the like.

As Michael Hartl put it in the email, this is “the best Tau Day yet. (OK, it’s only the second one, but still!)”.  This is a very young holiday.  There is a lot of room for the creative here.  And we should all want Tau Day 2012 to be better than Tau Day 2011.  Poems whose word lengths come from the digits of pi have been around for quite some time.  What about tau-digit poetry?  On Pi Day Half Tau Day, I saw a sudoku variant based on the digits and shape of pi (though I can’t seem to find it now).  If there can be pidoku, there can and should be taudoku.  And that can be just the beginning.

We have 366 days until Taue Day 2012.  What are you going to do?


The importance of precision *or* Why are mathematicians so picky?

11 January 2010

The following joke is very old (the following version comes from wikipedia).

An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician are on a train in Scotland. The astronomer looks out of the window, sees a black sheep standing in a field, and remarks, “How odd. Scottish sheep are black.” “No, no, no!” says the physicist. “Only some Scottish sheep are black.” The mathematician rolls his eyes at his companions’ muddled thinking and says, “In Scotland, there is at least one sheep, at least one side of which looks black.”

One skill that mathematicians are encouraged to develop is the ability to precisely formulate ideas, questions, etc., sometimes overly precisely.  We have lots of vocabulary and syntax conventions that helps us to draw very fine distinctions.

This is a common point of contention between mathematicians and non-mathematicians when discussing mathematical ideas.  Such as, let me think, teachers and students in a math classroom.

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Reaction to “Numbers that Made the World, Pt. 3″

17 September 2009

I thought the third part of the series was the strongest in at least one sense — this is the part that seemed to most fully and most compellingly do what it set out to do, which was to show how numbers are interwoven into the world all around us.  Specifically they examine music, architecture, the universe (in terms both cosmological and spiritual), and the future.

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