Friday, January 08, 2010

watching, onions, pi

Posted by PicasaWe'll soon get used to the snow, take if for granted, but for the time being, it brings us all
closer together.
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The other day I heard a TV chef proclaim on TV that there is no way to avoid the tears produced when chopping onions. My beautiful, and useful thing, to note for that day was going to be the solution, which I have known for a long time, and which was probably imparted to me by another TV chef. Since employing it, nor a tear has passed my eye while chopping onions. What brings this to mind is hearing the news this morning that the English spin bowler Graham Onions for the second time saved England from defeat in the test series against South Africa by staying in, though not a batsman, until stumps were drawn. Oh yes and the solution to the crying problem? Nothing to do with cricket. And, not as some have suggested holding the onion under cold water while chopping - not an easy procedure even if it worked. All you have to do is cut off and discard the root end of the onion, the whiskery bit. Try it. No more tears I promise.
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In today's paper, I read that a French computer programmer called Fabrice Bernard has calculated the value of pi to 2,700 billion decimal places. According to the report in The Independent, it took 131 days to complete the calculation and the resulting number took up more than 1,000 gigabytes of memory on the hard drive of Bernard's desk top computer. Downloading it would, apparently take 10 days, and if you wanted to recite the number, you would have to set aside 49,000 years for the job. Why bother with such calculations? You might for example want one day to square a circle using the formula πr squared. If you did, the fact that the fraction which gives you the value of π seems incapable of resolution should be enough to deter you from wasting your time.

4 comments:

Lucas said...

What a delightful photograph. The light is very atmospheric and when you enlarge it you get a good view of the squirrel.

CC said...

Keep onions in the fridge and you'll never cry again when chopping them.

Barrett Bonden said...

There's probably a sequel to the Fabrice story. Having filled up the terabyte of hard disc perhaps he opened his front door and saw people driving cars, chatting, making love, reading newspapers, forming political parties and cheering at rugby matches. So he cut his throat, conscious at the moment of death, and enjoying a moment of irony only the French can appreciate, that he was not "getting a life".

Plutarch said...

Yer, and BB, it occurs to me that there must be a nagging thought: What if I gone on?