I read the news this morning and ran into an extremely disturbing article.
Mathematicians Want to Say Goodbye to Pi
"I know it will be called blasphemy by some, but I believe that pi (sic) is wrong." mathematician Bob Palais
Given my public cupcake hate, I feel almost hypocritical coming to the defense of pie, but this is just plain wrong.
When I saw the headline, I wondered Why do math geeks have to attack pie? (Note that they call themselves by the formal title of mathematicians, it should have been my first BIG hint. Why the insistence on dropping the 'e' from pie? Do they want to take away even the word for pie? The very idea of pie?
What did pie ever do to them? And does Kate McDermott know about this?
Worse, they want to replace pie with tau which totally confuses me. I see nothing at all in this list that looks tasty. Not even a bit. Tau is also the greek number 300, which is far too many slices for a single pie so any talk of using pie and tau together must be questioned.
Looking further, Google image search for 'tau' turns up mostly hostile looking guys, many with huge guns. They look pissed off. Like someone stole their pie. Or cut it into 300 itsybitsy pieces. A mathematician, I'd guess.
Speaking of images, check out this one, borrowed from wiki bits related to this. I approve of cutting the pie into only 8 slices. Big pie slices are marvelous and I am thrilled we're not talking about 300 slices anymore. But what's with the rolling thing? How does that help with serving the pie? I only imagine flying bits of fruit and crust. Do mathematicians not clean up their own mess, like men and kids in those paper towel ads with the ever present robotic spill-wiping mom...hmmm.
The entire idea seems absurd to me. Why would people want to get rid of pie? People love pie. Pie is as American as, well, apple pie. Can you imagine a group of patriotic citizens lining up to demand an end to pie? It's not like it's something truly evil, like chocolate milk.
Reading on, I may have found the problem. First, it's not an American. It's a mathematician from the UK. Just before Independence Day. Which we celebrate with pie. I think I may be getting closer to the truth now. (Guys, it's been over 200 years. Get over it!)
At one point, there is a bit of conciliatory talk, "there is no need for pi to be eradicated," (Kevin) Houston said. "You might say I'm not anti-pi, I'm pro-tau." He then goes on to claim that tau is more "natural" as if pie never occurs in nature. That is totally untrue. I eat pie in the garden all the time. (I'm sure Kate's got my back on pies being natural.)
A bit more digging turned up this gem, squirreled away in a UK web site where nobody would find it. Or so the anti-pieists hope.
'How much simpler it would be if we just used tau instead of pi,' Dr Houston added. 'The circle would have tau radians, a semicircle would have half tau, a quarter of a circle a quarter tau, and so on. You don’t have to think.'
'We should be changing the textbooks,' he insisted. 'It would be much simpler than the shift from imperial to metric. If we were to start teaching tau from the moment kids start maths, they would take to it straight away, as it’s more natural.'
"You don't have to think." "more natural" The fundamentalists always say that, don't they?
So are these anti-science mathematicians discouraging thinking? A British plot to force us to give up pie for this 'tau' along with a 'shift from imperial to metric'? (How cleverly that was slipped in!) Or are they simply confused and misled?
Sadly, while I love a good conspiracy theory, I think it is the latter. Simply put, pie scrambles their brains. My evidence? This is from the US article, where the press let this stunning revelation of the power of pie slide in:
"This means one quarter of a circle corresponds to half of pi. That is, one quarter corresponds to a half. That's crazy. Similarly, three quarters of a circle is three halves of pi."
...one quarter equals a half and three quarters is three halves...
I think I understand now. Pie makes math hard. I mean, look at that. A quarter is a half? That means one is two. 1=2? Seriously?
Math geeks, back away from the sugar. It is clearly messing with your brains.
People, please join me in defending pie and making sure it is not eradicated from the planet by these nefarious 'mathematician' people. Make a pie, eat a pie, buy a pie. Better yet, take a mathematician out for pie. They sound like they could use a nice slice of pie.