I now have a third reason to hate π day.

I’d like to start by disclaiming that I am in the camp of people that considers τ the correct circle constant. This does not constitute one of the reasons I hate π day. It’s something that I think is the wrong choice, but it doesn’t make me hate it.

The first reason I hated π day was that it’s a brutal and arbitrary bastardization of a beautiful mathematical construct. Celebrating π on March 14 is like celebrating Labor Day on January 4 because “14” is the 1337ification of “la”, the first letters in ‘Labor Day’. Celebrating π on the 22nd day of the 7th month of some sort of year would at least be celebrating π on numbers that represent a significant rational approximation, and not just an arbitrary cutoff in a string of digits. On top of this, though, π day is conceived on the coincidence of the digits in a decimal approximation of π imposed on a calendar that’s religiously conceived; this imposes non-secularity onto math.

The second reason I hated π day was because of its role in painting nerds in the general public vision. π day has somehow become one of the ways most people are most exposed to what they would see as nerdiness. It has definitely somehow taken an exclusive pedestal as the holiday of nerds. And thus, common traditions of π day easily become what people see as the center of nerd culture. And what are these traditions? Things like memorizing digits of π and obsessing about circles in weirdly fetishistic ways. There are far cooler and more awesome things to be associated with being nerdy that could be the façade of nerdy communities to the general world, but π day puts on display the silliest possible facet.

And now, there is a new third reason: the way π day has become commercialized and appropriated. Walking around on π day is now a rapidfire march of cringe, filled with silly substitutions of π wherever the string ‘pi’ comes up in a word. See, πzza sale! The joke’s that the word ‘pizza’ starts with ‘pi’, get it? Haha, so funny! Seriously, though, these substitutions were funny the first time we saw them. And then they stopped being so. They only ever look forced now. It is so freaking old. Please stop. (I promise I’m not just bitter that I’m allergic to most pizzas and pies.)

Happy birthday to Albert Einstein, everyone.


Totals over Time

once a month for an average year: 12 times
once an hour for an average day: 24 times
once a day for an average month: 30 times
once a second for an average minute: 60 times
once a minute for an average hour: 60 times
once a year for an average American lifespan: 79 times
once a day for an average year: 365 times
once an hour for an average month: 730 times
once a month for an average American lifespan: 945 times
once a minute for an average day: 1440 times
once a second for an average hour: 3600 times
once an hour for an average year: 8766 times
once a day for an average American lifespan: 28760 times
once a minute for an average month: 43830 times
once a second for an average day: 86400 times
once a minute for an average year: 525960 times
once an hour for an average American lifespan: 690235 times
once a second for an average month: 2 629 800 times
once a second for an average year: 31 557 600 times
once a minute for an average American lifespan: 41 414 090 times
once a second for an average American lifespan: 2 484 845 424 times

Minimum Wage, Expressed in Uselessness of Pennies

The following is a tabulation of minimum wage, except in a manner to point out how badly useless and economically inefficient the penny is. This is a chart of how long you can spend dealing with a US penny before you have spent more time dealing with it than the time-worth of a penny at minimum wage.

Federal Rate for Tipped Workers: 16.90 seconds
Federal Rate for Youth: 8.47 seconds

Federal Rate: 4.97 seconds
New Mexico: 4.80 seconds
Missouri: 4.68 seconds
Florida: 4.44 seconds
Louisville, KY: 4.44 seconds
Montana and Ohio: 4.42 seconds
Delaware, Illinois, and Nevada: 4.36 seconds
St. Louis, MO: 4.36 seconds
New Jersey: 4.27 seconds
Arkansas: 4.24 seconds
South Dakota: 4.21 seconds
Maryland and West Virginia: 4.11 seconds
Albuquerque, NM: 4.11 seconds
Michigan: 4.04 seconds
Maine and Nebraska: 4.00 seconds

Hawaii: 3.89 seconds
Colorado: 3.87 seconds
Minnesota and Oregon: 3.79 seconds
Prince George’s County, Maryland: 3.77 seconds
Rhode Island: 3.75 seconds
New York: 3.69 seconds
Alaska: 3.67 seconds
Arizona and Vermont: 3.60 seconds
Chicago, IL: 3.60 seconds
Connecticut: 3.56 seconds
California: 3.43 seconds
New York City, NY: 3.43 seconds
Santa Fe, NM: 3.32 seconds
Massachusetts and Washington: 3.27 seconds
Montgomery County, Maryland: 3.13 seconds

Berkeley, CA and Oakland, CA: 2.87 seconds
Emeryville, CA and San Francisco, CA: 2.77 seconds

The Four-Colorability of the World: Addendum on Planarity

After presenting my conclusions in my previous post on the four-colorability of the world to several friends and friends of friends, we pondered the question of whether the map of the world’s countries is planar. It is in fact not: consider the induced subgraph of (that is, consider the connections among) Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

Trick-Taking Card Games

Consider one round of a four-player trick-taking card game with no trumps and no breakages (for instance, if hearts did not need to be broken in Hearts). (That is, players must follow suit of the first card played in the trick unless they can’t.) How many of the 52! orderings of cards represent a legal order in which the cards could be played in the round?

To provide examples, any ordering that starts


is illegal, as [6♣,K♣,Q♢,10♣] constitutes the first trick, and thus the player who played the K♣ starts the next trick, and thus the player after them has broken the rules as they clearly have at least one club (the J♣ they played this trick) that they did not play last trick (where they played a Q♢), but


is, as it turns out in this case the four parties were each dealt all the cards of one suit, and thus subsequent players will never be able to follow suit of the first player.

Here are some ideas for extensions: have a trump suit, have a breakage rule, have both, solve this for Napoleon.

How I Generate My Passwords, and Why, Fuck You Apple

What is much more problematic than using a weak password is using the same password in multiple places.

There’s a gigantic issue with using a new password for each site that you go to, though: you have to memorize that many passwords. You could use a scheme where you use the same base password and then append the name of the site to the end, but that’s really not more secure than just using the same password in each site.

You could decide to use one of those password managers that exist out there. Personally, I find myself unable to believe that I could just trust some external entity with all my passwords and have an expectation they’re all alright. Oh wait, I’m not even paranoid.

Here’s how I generate my passwords. This scheme is actually memorable, and actually produces significantly different passwords.

Here’s all you memorize to cover all of your websites you care about your password in: a string, a hierarchy, and a function.

(Also, there are definitely places you don’t care about your password. Some of them send you your password in plaintext. Don’t even bother making a secure password in those cases.)

1. The String

Any string of length that’s at least some moderately large number.


, for example, is an excellent string. It doesn’t matter that you don’t understand any particular patterns in the string, because there’s only 12 characters in it, and you can easily memorize just one string of 12 random characters.

Continue reading “How I Generate My Passwords, and Why, Fuck You Apple”