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domingo, marzo 08, 2009

The Life Of Pi

I heard on the radio recently that Daniel Tammet holds the world's record for reciting from memory the digits in pi:
Tammet holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.
I have no idea whether the world record is different from the European or the Asian or American record. And I have no idea what adjective best describes this kind of achievement. Is there an adjective that combines "gigantic" with "essentially meaningless?"

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to recite the values of pi to 22,514 figures, ever, much less why anyone would choose to do this from memory. "Because I can" hardly seems an adequate explanation. However, the idea of a championship tournament of people who were reciters of pi from memory utterly boggles and excites me. Imagine, if you will the pi recitation training camp, the pi recitation workouts, the rehearsals, the endorsements. Imagine, if you will, reporters from the Memory Channel and their interviews with the contestants. The touts: "The champ ain't talkin with the press right now, he's doin his rote work, and then he's gonna take a nap. Come back tomorrow."

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