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.
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.