Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pi at the River

[Warning: If you are as nerdy as me, this will absolutely blow your mind.  You have been warned.]

I’m a big fan of pie.  Apple, pumpkin, you name.  But I really love pi pie.  Pi, π, the mathematical constant.  3.14159 … I have no idea what the final TOE will be (that’s Theory of Everything”), but I have no doubt that π will be in there somewhere.  It’ll probably be the only thing in the equation I will recognize.

Anyway, just read this last night and it only cements that surety in me.  Π pops up everywhere.  Everywhere.  I am also a hundred percent sure of that, too.  And what I read last night confirms all these certainties to a degree of certitude I’m certain certainly will amaze – er, you get the picture.

Now, for the first time, π shows up in geography.  Well, if you disregard mathematical formulae as area of a circle, volume of a sphere, etc.  But how about this:

Seems some scientist a few years back took it upon himself to analyze rivers.  He noted the distance that a river would meander from its source to its mouth (where it ended up; in the sea, most likely, I’d think).  Then he took the distance from source to mouth in a direct line, as the crow flies, as they say.  He did this for hundreds of major rivers all over the globe.  What do you think the ratio of meandering distance to as-the-crow-flies distance is?

Hint:  The first three digits are 3-point-1-4.


How freaky is that!!

The ratio of a river’s actual distance to its aerial source-to-mouth distance is π!

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