Thursday, June 19, 2008

Teh Aliens Have Our Pi

Oooo, noes! According to this news item, a crop circle found in England contains the first ten digits of pi, encoded as radial sectors.

...Ahem. In base 10. With an obvious decimal point. Look, let's say you are a nonhuman alien (yes, you, sir, the fellow in the back). Despite your having, say, eight digits (arranged on three arms: three, three and two) and using trinary notation, you have doped out our symbols well enough to know we're into base 10 and use either a period or a comma to indicate subdivided values of one; you are even hip enough to get which the Brits prefer. Knowing all that -- and it's less obvious than it sounds -- you then concoct a silly scheme to show you, just like the Babylonians, can approximate the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter and when you apply your glyph to the green'n'peasant* lands, you -- wait for it -- end with a stylised ellipsis to show you know it is an irrational number that just keeps on going, 'cos you know mathematical notation is, like, universal. (Go look).

Two possibilities:
A) Genius nonhuman juvenile delinquents doin' the galactic version of a mega-witty tagging job on farm fields in an odd corner of a small planet to bedazzle the benighted.
II. Crown subjects with too much time on their hands and no respect for private property.

Mr. Occam, the envelope if you pleeeeze....?
* Yah, yah, I know where they were a-goin' t'build Jerusalem but lookit your hooligans, your laws and your towns laced with cameras and tell me "pleasant" without a trace of irony.


Turk Turon said...

My spaceship gets 100,000 parsecs to the hogshead of deuterium, and that's the way I like it!

Peter said...

Don't tell Michelle Obama they have PI, she'll want some of it.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know the Babylonians had radios!

Roberta X said...

Fixed, thank you Anon. Too much Engrish? Maybe.

Matt G said...

Base 10. Not Base 12, or base 4, or, as my old trigonometric Unit Circle used, Base 2. But ten. 10. X.

That's fantastic, and I'm using exactly the right adjective there.