Saturday, 20 March 2010

Pi Day

I was interested to see from Facebook that a lot of British people have adopted 14th March as Pi Day. This is yet another bit of American cultural invasion. I wonder whether social networking is going to complete the takeover, with all these young people addressing each other 'Hi hon!' 'Hey you guys!'

In Britain we give the day before the month, and there is nothing special about 14.3 (nor about 9.11, the 9th of November). Logically we should write the numbers in the order of the size of units, just as we say first the millions, then the thousands, then the hundreds, tens and ones. So today is 2010.3.20. In fact the British reverse the order: 20.3.2010. Americans put the units in the middle, which doesn't make sense: 3.20.2010.

Actually, what a pity we are stuck with the Gregorian calendar! The length of its months are in crazy disorder and the year begins on a day of no astronomical significance. It is very accurate in relation to the sun, but it leaves the poor old moon completely out of account. We should go back to the good old Babylonian and Jewish calendar, with months that follow the moon.

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