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## Happy Pi (and STL Day)!

by | Mar 14, 2023

Today is March 14th or 3/14, 3.14, or just 314. It’s a day when all things Pi is celebrated. Now, hang on to your hat for some amazing 314 facts.

### Pi is a Really Long Number

Pi, of course, is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is an irrational number, meaning it cannot be written as a simple fraction. Instead, Pi is an infinite, non-repeating decimal. Infinitely long is a really long number.

### Memorizing Pi

For some reason, memorizing insanely long digits of Pi is a thing.

Of course, Chuck Norris is able to recite all the digits of Pi from memory, even though it’s infinite. It takes him about half an hour.

For mere mortals, the unofficial world record is held by Akira Haraguchi, who recited over 100,000 digits of pi from memory at a public event near Tokyo but was not verified by the Guinness Book or World Records. It took him 16hrs 30mins. Haraguchi says that he’s recited 111,700 digits on his own. The record verified by Guinness is by Suresh Kumar Sharma, who recited 70,030 digits in 2015. It took him over 17 hours. Crazy!

### How Many Digits Do We Really Need?

Does anyone really need 70 thousand digits of Pi? NASA uses 3.141592653589793 for Pi in making its calculations because 15 digits of Pi is ridiculously precise. The Earth has a diameter of 7,926 miles. Using Pi of 15 decimal places will give you the correct circumference of Earth within the width of a single molecule!

### Area Code 314 and Happy STL Day

The U.S. and its territories, Canada, Bermuda and 16 Caribbean countries all use a telephone numbering system called the “North American Numbering Plan.”  You are familiar with it: a 3 digit “area code” followed by a seven digit phone number.  This numbering plan was developed in the late 1940s. Originally, the numbering plan used 86 area codes with the largest metropolitan areas getting the area codes that took the least amount of time to dial on rotary telephones (NYC, 212, D.C. 202, L.A. 213, Chicago 312, St. Louis 314).  In the original plan a middle digit of zero indicated the area code covered an entire state/province, while area codes with a middle digit of one were assigned to states/provinces that were divided into more than one area code.

Because St. Louis’s area code is 314, St. Louisans honor March 14th as a day to celebrate our awesome city! For those of you in STL, here are some ideas on how to celebrate and here are some more.

Over time, population increases required that additional area codes be used.  Then in the 1990s and 2000s, there was a sharp rise in the need for even more area codes arose due to fax machines and cell phones. Now, even smart watches and tablets with cell service have their own phone numbers.

So, are we running out of phone numbers?  Yes, but we still have a long way to go.  The North American Numbering Plan gives us about 5 billion possible phone numbers, and about half of those have been used.

# 3 Comments

1. Clever and well written.

We had a kid in high school get into the pretzel position and recite pi for the talent show.

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2. I once took a photo of a guy at the supermarket wearing a shirt that said “my password is the last 5 digits of pi”.

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• Thats awesome.

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