Fun_People Archive
14 Apr
A big piece of PI

Date: Fri, 14 Apr 95 12:14:48 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: A big piece of PI

Forwarded-by: Ben Herman <> (Greyshadow)
Forwarded-by: (Meindert de Jong)

			       Circle Digits:
		A Self-Referential Story, by Michael Keith.

                              For  a  time  I
                         stood pondering on  circle
                      sizes.    The   large   computer
                  mainframe quietly processed all of its
               assembly code. Inside my entire hope lay for
               figuring out an elusive expansion. Value: pi.
            Decimals expected soon. I nervously entered a format
          procedure.  The mainframe processed the request.  Error.
        I, again entering it, carefully retyped. This iteration gave
      zero  error printouts in  all  -  success.  Intently  I waited.
     Soon, roused by thoughts within me, appeared  narrative mnemonics
    relating digits to verbiage!  The idea appeared  to exist but only
    in abbreviated fashion - little phrases typically.  Pressing  on I
  then resolved, deciding firmly about a sum of decimals to use - likely
  around  four  hundred,  presuming  the  computer  code  soon  halted !
  Pondering these ideas, words appealed to me. But a problem of zeros did
 exist. Pondering more, solution  subsequently  appeared.  Zero  suggests a
 punctuation  element.  Very  novel !   My  thoughts  were  culminated.  No
 periods. I concluded.  All  residual  marks  of punctuation -  zeros.  First
digit  expansion  answer  then  came  before me.  On examining  some  problems
unhappily arose.  That imbecilic  bug!  The printout I possessed  showed  four
nine  as  foremost  decimals.  Manifestly  troubling.  Totally  every  number
looked wrong.  Repairing  the bug  took  much  effort.  A pi  mnemonic  with
 letters trully seemed good.  Counting of  all the  letters  probably should
  suffice.  Reaching  for  a record  would  be  helpful.  Consequently,  I
  continued, expecting a good  final answer from  computer.  First  number
   slowly displayed  on the the flat screen  -  3. Good.  Trailing  digits
   apparently  were  right also.  Now my  memory scheme  must probably be
    implementable.  The  technique was chosen, elegant in scheme: by self
    reference  a tale  mnemonically  helpful was ansured.  An able title
     suddenly existed -  "Circle Digits" .  Taking pen I began.  Words
      emanated uneasily. I desired more synonyms. Speedily I found my
       (alongside me) Thesaurus. Rogets is probably an  essential in
        doing  this, instantly I decided.  I  wrote and erased  more.
         The  Rogets  clearly   assisted  immensely.   My  story
          proceeded (how lovely!) faultlessly.  The end, above
           all, would soon joyfully overtake. So, this memory
             helper story is incontestably complete. Soon I
                will locate publisher. There a narrative
                     will I trust immediately appear,
                          producing fame. THE END.

[The following introduction used to precede the story, but I moved it here to
keep it from stealing the story's thunder... -psl]

The following self-referential story is a mnemonic for the first 402
decimals of the number PI. As it indicates, merely count the number
of letters in each word of the story (beginning with the first word,
"For" , up to and including the final words, "The End") to obtain the
successive decimals to PI. Any punctuation mark other than a period
represents a zero digit (a period stands for no digit). Words of
longer than 9 letters represent two adjacent digits (for example,
a twelve-letter word represents the two digits 1-2). A digit written
literally stands for the same digit in the expansion. This feature
would be considered "cheating".
   As far as I can determine, this story estabilishes a new record
length for a literary PI mnemonic, although clearly the length of
such a mnemonic is limited only by the patience of the constructor.
It has been checked by a computer program for correctness to the
decimals of PI.

(from The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.8 No.3, Pg.56/57)

  For those who want to compose even longer mnemonics using the same
or similar rules, the following points may be of interest:

1. At decimal 601, the first triple-zero occours. Clearly we can handle
this with the present scheme, but a little ingenuity is required. No
quadruple-zeros occur within at least the first 10,000 decimals, so
we don't have to concern ourselves with that possibility.

2. At decimal 772 we encounter the amazing sequence 9999998. This seven-
digit group has the largest digit sum of any seven-digit group in
the first million decimals! Because of the resulting requirement for
seven adjacent long words, it also poses quite a challenge in encoding.

We have seen pi-mnemonic sentences, poems, and now, a short story.
Perhaps some day a complete novel???

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []