Monday, March 14, 2011

Secant! Tangent! Cosine! Sine!!! 3.14159!!!

That was the Math Team Cheer when I was in high school (I did mention I was a geek before, didn't I?). And although my coaches and teammates will be more than happy to admit I wasn't the best "mathlete" out there, I can say that I showed up for every practice and every contest in my four years on the team (out of 24 meets, I think I may have participated in three actual winning tests).

Even though I will never claim to be a genius mathematician, I will always remember the team cheer. Heck, that's why it's the title for today's post.

So what does this have to do with Topps cards? Does my post have a point?

Well, yes it does.

Today is March 14, 2011. It's National "Pi" Day!!! It's the day we honor that great number π or 3.141592653.........

Without it, we couldn't tell the perimeter or the area of a circle. In fact, many formulas (or is it formulae) need π as a mathematical constant. It is widely used in very many fields of science and math.

Okay, so what's the point?

Well, in 2009, Topps created an insert set within it's ever popular Allen & Ginter set called "World's Biggest Hoaxes, Hoodwinks, and Bamboozles." Basically, a twenty-card set of scam artists (Charles Ponzi, Enron), famous fakes (Cardiff Giant, Spaghetti Trees), and other historical fakes. Originally, one of the subjects was to be of Bernie Madoff. While appropriate for this kind of set, Topps eventually changed their minds and added the card you see below in it's place.

The story goes is that in 1998, Alabama's state legislature "redefined the value of pi from 3 in order to bring it in line with Biblical precepts" (source While this story, which went round and round during the infancy of the internet, was proved to be fake, almost a hundred years ago, the state legislature of Indiana seriously picked up on the topic.

So here's to π. And its infinite number of numbers after the decimal point.


JayBee Anama

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