Friday, March 27, 2009

Geek of the Week: Colleen

Listen to this:

I think the geekiness explains itself. If you need more convincing...Colleen took time over vacation to memorize it, just so she could recite it for Sue and me after break. Not only is it geeky, it's sweet and geeky. Thanks for making my pi-day, Colleen!


Carrie said...

I enjoy reading the interesting bits you post, but must draw the line at poor grammar. You meant, I'm sure, "...recite it for Sue and ME after break."

I'm a math teacher, too, with the emphasis on "teacher". My students write papers in my classes, and groan when I correct their spelling and grammar, mumbling something about how it shouldn't matter in a math class. Of course it does.

Thanks for your interesting blog.

HM said...


I appreciate it. I must confess. I'm a sloppy speller, my grammar is poor, and my handwriting is terrible. I know it matters though. I'm always trying to get better. Thanks for the guidance! I'll correct the post.

Tinyc Tim said...

Dear Carrie, Hendree et al -

I don't know you (yet) but share at least two things in common; I teach Math and am a stickler on grammar. It's always a tough call whether to "call somebody" on "I/me" etc. stuff. Will you offend? Will the called take it well, poorly?

I just attended a workshop by Terry Cassidy on Grammar. Really good. The trend at the Academic Support Center is to downplay grammar and upplay, at least initially, "what are you *really* trying to say?" When the student begins to say what he is trying to say (but who is being asked to write), she often says it better than write it and eventually the writing becomes better.

I like this blog too. A lot. Did you happen to notice our blog master messed up "Problem" in the current math quote of the day? But the *content* of the quote ("if the root of n + the root of n + etc. is an integer etc.") is interesting enough that Rroblem/Smoblem takes backburner. But of course now that it's been pointed out, you, he and maybe others will get interested in the rroblem itself and not only will it get proved but possibly fixed along the way.

What I *really* was going to talk about before getting sidetracked was that I just discovered two files on the floppy that's in my drive which are named and pi314.bas and I guess you can imagine what *they* do. I don't expect too many readers will 1. be able to access my floppy remotely or 2. even if they could, want to spend a lot of time reading the .bas one, but, seeing as this *is* a math blog, and that the pi recitation is only a few days ahead, I thought it might intrigue a few.

So I've put a copy of the source code

up. (The .com is a compiled executable that works on computers that were popular in the 80's. I don't expect there are too many out there that run CP/M anymore but if you have the right emulator, be my guest. It's on the server too.)

This program appeared in

Ref: "Apple Pi", by Robert Bishop, The BEST of MICRO, Volume 1. MICRO was a 6502 magazine. It is no longer published.

I spent *hours* typing it in, trying to understand how it worked etc. etc. It uses an infinite series that converges rapidly. I only recently discovered why the series evalutes to pi. Essentially, the program works by dividing, adding and subtracting multi-precision numbers. If you study it, eventually you see that all it's doing is exactly what we "simple" humans do when we add, subtract and divide multi-precision numbers.

BTW, it's not exactly midnight, but the current quote of the day on the blog

"All great therorems were discovered after midnight."

sort of applies here. I often find myself getting up at 2 am (it's 5:15 now but ...) to check emails etc.

- Lee

PS - on proofing this I just noticed "theorems" is misspelled. How cool is that?! And I am quoting the quote so ...

HM said...


Unfortunately the quotes are not my own. They are piped in. I can't correct any spelling there. Don't be shy though when you see a mistake. After Carrie's comment, Sue showed me a great way to remember the "I/me" thing. I won't be in doubt anymore in those situations.

I got curious about what multi-precision numbers are. I tried googling and it seems to relate to how computers store long strings of decimals. I couldn't really find a solid use or definition of multi-precision numbers. How do they relate to arbitrary or infinite precision numbers?