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Mending, working, getting amped - Peter Hentges — LiveJournal

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October 21st, 2004

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12:24 am - Mending, working, getting amped
My eye appears to be healing up nicely, thanks to the drops I picked up before work yesterday. Slept well this morning and have only noticed the irritation a few times throughout the day. (Like now, when I'm writing about it. Typical.)

The curvaceous and bubbly elisem came over to conspire with Ericka over the creation of useful things for Elise's presence at conventions and craft shows and the like. I dropped her off at Mike's after they'd had enough play time and continued down to Chez minnehaha to pick up a ticket to tomorrow's rally for John Kerry here in Minneapolis.

Chatted briefly with K and headed home to prep for work. Prepping for work involves food and napping. It also involved, today, watching an episode of "Nova" on PBS regarding a manuscript by Archimedes that had been discovered. It was a not-often-copied manuscript of the Greek mathematician's that had been made into a palimpsest. That is, the pages of the original had been scraped clean of their ink and re-used for a later book. (In this case, a medieval prayer book.)

The most fascinating portion of the program for me was the method of approximating the value of pi that Archimedes worked out. Very accurate and intuitive; it basically involves setting the highest and lowest values possible for a circle's circumference by inscribing polygons inside the circle and surrounding the same circle with other polygons. That is, if you draw a triangle inside a circle, the circumference of the circle must be larger than the length of the sides of the triangle. Similarly if you draw a hexagon around a circle, the circumference must be less than the length of the sides of the hexagon. (Draw this out for yourself if you don't get it from my description. It looks quite intuitive visually.) By making polygons with progressively more sides (Archimedes went up to 96) you get closer and closer to the real value of the circumference. Since pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, this gets you closer and closer to pi. Archimedes came up with the approximation of 3.14, a number no doubt familiar to anyone that's graduated from high school.

Work is slow tonight, which is good as I'm filling in for my lead again. My stalwart leadership means more free time for everyone! This gives me plenty of time to get pumped up for the Kerry rally tomorrow. I'm quite excited; it'll be my first political rally.
Current Mood: excitedpumped

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2004 07:09 am (UTC)


Oh my! That's real Indiana Jones stuff! Sadly, our PBS station doesn't carry the Infinite Secrets series.
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2004 07:37 am (UTC)
I got to see the Archimedes Codex while it was briefly on display at the Field Museum. It was a great experience and my reaction to old books is always the same: I stand by the glass for fifteen minutes trying to read them. Alas, my Latin stinks, but I can manage it with Old or Middle English. My Greek? Almost as bad as my Latin.

None of which was very considerate of the other people in the exhibit, who just wanted that dork standing by the glass to get a move on and stop whispering to himself.
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2004 08:33 pm (UTC)

Book of Kells

When our son visited Ireland, I made him take the time to visit Trinity College so he could gaze at a page of the Book of Kells. Maybe some day we'll get to go in person.
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2004 09:18 pm (UTC)

Re: Book of Kells

If your son gets into the Book of Kells, or if you just want to remind him of it, there is a very slick CD-Rom version that lets you examine every page in brilliant detail for as long as you want. Admittedly, it's the sort of thing that's best for students who want to drool over pages and can't afford to go to Ireland, but it's also a very cool souvenir.

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