# Waste of brain cells.

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Chronos
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20 Nov 2010, 5:50 pm

Well this is a waste of time and brain cells. I mean, unless pi is your special interest, there is no point in making an entire class remember it to the whateverth decimal place when you could be teaching them something more constructive and relevant.

http://news.yahoo.com/video/desmoines-k ... i-23107200

samsa
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20 Nov 2010, 6:42 pm

Entirely useless. Forcing someone to learn pi isn't going to teach them how to use it.

Even if they didn't have calculators with a pi button (which everyone studying maths should have,) approximations or even just a few decimal points usually does the trick.

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Philologos
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22 Nov 2010, 2:16 pm

A. NOBODY should be forced to memorize more than 5 digits of pi - further is neither practical [minimal difference in calculating space for your circular table] nor needed - wher did I put me calculator?

B. LOTS of people enjoy memorizing it to lotsa places.

CloudWalker
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22 Nov 2010, 4:36 pm

What's the point? A math class should teach math! Not simply memorizing numbers.

Ancalagon
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22 Nov 2010, 8:31 pm

I have pi memorized to 3.14159265358979

If you took the number of decimal places that I know, and used that for a value of pi to draw a circle around the solar system, the length of your circle would be off by less than 5 centimeters.

However, I only really need to know it to 3.1, and for nearly every possible practical use, anything beyond 3.14159 is overkill.

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Philologos
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22 Nov 2010, 9:33 pm

3.1416 was all I ever bothered with, and unless you are a solar system scale 3.14 is probably fine.

hyperlexian
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22 Nov 2010, 9:40 pm

any decimal notation of pi is simply an approximation anyway. in my opinion, there is no point in memorizing something that is not necessarily wholly accurate anyways. students should know as many digits as they actually need to use in their calculations.

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MathGirl
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02 Dec 2010, 2:53 am

It's always hard to memorize something that is not made to be fun. I never had the interest in memorizing Pi until I've learned about Daniel Tammet, but the catalyst for interest is going to be different for every person.

I say, the teacher should be inventive and find something that would make as many people as possible interested in memorizing Pi, but not make it mandatory under any conditions. There's a reason why the Pi button is on the calculator, anyway. The most I was ever made to memorize was 3.14, and that was in the super-strict Russian educational system.

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Chronos
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02 Dec 2010, 3:38 am

MathGirl wrote:
It's always hard to memorize something that is not made to be fun. I never had the interest in memorizing Pi until I've learned about Daniel Tammet, but the catalyst for interest is going to be different for every person.

I say, the teacher should be inventive and find something that would make as many people as possible interested in memorizing Pi, but not make it mandatory under any conditions. There's a reason why the Pi button is on the calculator, anyway. The most I was ever made to memorize was 3.14, and that was in the super-strict Russian educational system.

I don't think Daniel Tammet memorizes pi. If I understand correctly, due, in part to, the nature of his synaesthesia, he "knows" pi.

MathGirl
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02 Dec 2010, 3:51 am

Chronos wrote:
MathGirl wrote:
It's always hard to memorize something that is not made to be fun. I never had the interest in memorizing Pi until I've learned about Daniel Tammet, but the catalyst for interest is going to be different for every person.

I say, the teacher should be inventive and find something that would make as many people as possible interested in memorizing Pi, but not make it mandatory under any conditions. There's a reason why the Pi button is on the calculator, anyway. The most I was ever made to memorize was 3.14, and that was in the super-strict Russian educational system.

I don't think Daniel Tammet memorizes pi. If I understand correctly, due, in part to, the nature of his synaesthesia, he "knows" pi.
If he knows Pi, he would have had to have it in his head from birth. He had to memorize it at some point in time, although he probably memorized it very quickly due to the nature of his synaesthesia. He sees the numbers in his head as a sort of a "skyline", with hills and valleys.

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Chronos
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02 Dec 2010, 4:00 am

MathGirl wrote:
Chronos wrote:
MathGirl wrote:
It's always hard to memorize something that is not made to be fun. I never had the interest in memorizing Pi until I've learned about Daniel Tammet, but the catalyst for interest is going to be different for every person.

I say, the teacher should be inventive and find something that would make as many people as possible interested in memorizing Pi, but not make it mandatory under any conditions. There's a reason why the Pi button is on the calculator, anyway. The most I was ever made to memorize was 3.14, and that was in the super-strict Russian educational system.

I don't think Daniel Tammet memorizes pi. If I understand correctly, due, in part to, the nature of his synaesthesia, he "knows" pi.
If he knows Pi, he would have had to have it in his head from birth. He had to memorize it at some point in time, although he probably memorized it very quickly due to the nature of his synaesthesia. He sees the numbers in his head as a sort of a "skyline", with hills and valleys.

If I can tell you 864/12 off the top of my head, that doesn't mean I memorized it. Perhaps I memorized it or perhaps my brain is just very good at computing it.

I think in the case of pi and Daniel Tammet, his brain is actually computing it and relaying the information to him in the form of synaesthesia and he is reading off what he is "seeing".

MathGirl
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02 Dec 2010, 4:16 am

Chronos wrote:
If I can tell you 864/12 off the top of my head, that doesn't mean I memorized it. Perhaps I memorized it or perhaps my brain is just very good at computing it.

I think in the case of pi and Daniel Tammet, his brain is actually computing it and relaying the information to him in the form of synaesthesia and he is reading off what he is "seeing".
I have his book, Embracing the Wide Sky, and I've just looked up how he managed to do it. Here it is, in his own words:
Daniel Tammet (p. 57) wrote:
When I recited the mathematical constant Pi (3.121...) from memory to 22,514 decimal places in March 2004, it seemed like magic to many people. In fact, the achievement (a European record) was the result of weeks of disciplined study aided by the unusual way in which my mind perceives numbers, as complex, multidimensional, colored, and textured shapes. Using these shapes, I was able to visualize and remember the digits of Pi in my mind's eye as a rolling numerical panorama, the beauty of which both fascinated and enchanted me.

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Asp-Z
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02 Dec 2010, 5:02 am

Looks fun, but 300 digits is nothing compared to Daniel Tammet

Chronos
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02 Dec 2010, 5:24 am

MathGirl wrote:
Chronos wrote:
If I can tell you 864/12 off the top of my head, that doesn't mean I memorized it. Perhaps I memorized it or perhaps my brain is just very good at computing it.

I think in the case of pi and Daniel Tammet, his brain is actually computing it and relaying the information to him in the form of synaesthesia and he is reading off what he is "seeing".
I have his book, Embracing the Wide Sky, and I've just looked up how he managed to do it. Here it is, in his own words:
Daniel Tammet (p. 57) wrote:
When I recited the mathematical constant Pi (3.121...) from memory to 22,514 decimal places in March 2004, it seemed like magic to many people. In fact, the achievement (a European record) was the result of weeks of disciplined study aided by the unusual way in which my mind perceives numbers, as complex, multidimensional, colored, and textured shapes. Using these shapes, I was able to visualize and remember the digits of Pi in my mind's eye as a rolling numerical panorama, the beauty of which both fascinated and enchanted me.

So he is not quite the savant I had thought then. But perhaps still the way in which he perceives numbers is more efficient than actually perceiving them as numbers.

Asp-Z
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02 Dec 2010, 5:31 am

Chronos wrote:
MathGirl wrote:
Chronos wrote:
If I can tell you 864/12 off the top of my head, that doesn't mean I memorized it. Perhaps I memorized it or perhaps my brain is just very good at computing it.

I think in the case of pi and Daniel Tammet, his brain is actually computing it and relaying the information to him in the form of synaesthesia and he is reading off what he is "seeing".
I have his book, Embracing the Wide Sky, and I've just looked up how he managed to do it. Here it is, in his own words:
Daniel Tammet (p. 57) wrote:
When I recited the mathematical constant Pi (3.121...) from memory to 22,514 decimal places in March 2004, it seemed like magic to many people. In fact, the achievement (a European record) was the result of weeks of disciplined study aided by the unusual way in which my mind perceives numbers, as complex, multidimensional, colored, and textured shapes. Using these shapes, I was able to visualize and remember the digits of Pi in my mind's eye as a rolling numerical panorama, the beauty of which both fascinated and enchanted me.

So he is not quite the savant I had thought then. But perhaps still the way in which he perceives numbers is more efficient than actually perceiving them as numbers.

He can also instantly see the answer to any maths equation in the same way, so I'd say he is a pretty talented savant.

SuperApsie
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02 Dec 2010, 5:36 am

I think this is a strong signal that education is missing a lot of things in children. He is impressive and really contrast with the rest of the class, at least the child discovered something he can do with less efforts.

But it's presented "as is" in the "funny&unusual" section of the news. What a waste of brain cells.

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