Today (3/14) is Pi Day. But only in base 10. Which is a pretty lame base, when you think about it. 10 doesn't have many factors: only 1, 2, 5, and itself. So if you want to talk about a half or a fifth of something with a decimal, you're fine, but if you want to talk about a third or a fourth, you're going to run into some complications. The British in their infinite wisdom understood this. It's why there are twelve inches in a foot rather than ten: 12 has 3, 4, and 6 as factors. And the French (naturally) didn't. It's why the metric system is terrible, and I can't have a third of a meter of string without having to deal with an infinite repeating decimal.

But enough geopolitics. What is Pi Day in other bases?

In binary (base 2) pi is 11.0010..., and Pi Day is therefore celebrated on March 0th (or January 10th, if you care nothing for accuracy and also kick puppies).

In octal (base 8) pi is 3.1103..., and Pi Day was last Thursday.

In dozenal or duodecimal (base 12), pi is 3.1848... and Pi Day is next Monday.

And in hexadecimal (base 16), pi is 3.243F..., and Pi Day is going to require that March annex the first week of April (but let's face it, April has it coming).

So what is the best base? When is the true Pi Day? Are we going to settle for the inadequacy of base 10 and the metric system? Are we going to cling to binary or hex because it's what our computers tell us to do? Are we going to embrace the factorizing possibilities of dozenal? Are we going to go way back to the sexagesimal system of fallen Babylon? Or are we going to go really crazy and say, "No, it's heptary, Pi Day is on the 6th!"?

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22/7 is Pi Approximation Day -- the day for those who have abdicated all pride in themselves and their work, who are willing to shrug their shoulders and say, "Good enough".

And even then, only in base 10.

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22/7 is Pi Approximation Day -- the day for those who have abdicated all pride in themselves and their work, who are willing to shrug their shoulders and say, "Good enough".

English units are the best because they're useful for normal people who have feet, and take steps as opposed to metric units that require knowledge of the length of the prime meridian.

It's a truncated decimal expansion. Totally different. If you like, you can continue the expansion by proclaiming Pi Hour at 1 AM, Pi Minute at 1:59, and so on. But on the 22nd of July, you're just sort of... done.

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But enough geopolitics. What is Pi Day in other bases?

In

binary(base 2) pi is 11.0010..., and Pi Day is therefore celebrated on March 0th (or January 10th, if you care nothing for accuracy and also kick puppies).In

octal(base 8) pi is 3.1103..., and Pi Day was last Thursday.In

dozenalorduodecimal(base 12), pi is 3.1848... and Pi Day is next Monday.And in

hexadecimal(base 16), pi is 3.243F..., and Pi Day is going to require that March annex the first week of April (but let's face it, April has it coming).So what is the best base? When is the true Pi Day? Are we going to settle for the inadequacy of base 10 and the metric system? Are we going to cling to binary or hex because it's what our computers tell us to do? Are we going to embrace the factorizing possibilities of dozenal? Are we going to go way back to the sexagesimal system of fallen Babylon? Or are we going to go

reallycrazy and say, "No, it's heptary, Pi Day is on the 6th!"?Vive, vale. Siquid novisti rectius istis,candidus inperti; si nil, his utere mecum.

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And even then, only in base 10.

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