Pi Day: Capitol Hill Nerds Tweet Out 3.14
(WASHINGTON) -- The Hill has gone crazy for pi.
As every math geek knows, March 14 -- 3/14 -- is “Pi Day,” a celebration of 3.14, the approximate number used to calculate the area of a circle. And just like elementary school teachers nationwide, America’s lawmakers are pausing to honor the most obsessed-over number in the history of mathematics -- and grab a bite of pie.
Sen. Robert Casey, D-Penn., used the fanciful holiday to promote STEM education:
In a less predictable policy tie-in, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, compared pi with the national debt. Unfortunately for Cruz, pi is what mathematicians call an “irrational” number -- the decimals continue to infinity.
#HappyPiDay Hopefully there are still fewer digits in the national debt than in Pi when the debt limit suspension ends a year from tomorrow!— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 14, 2014
MIT grad Sen. Thomas Massie, R-Ky, who famously started a tech company from his dorm room, announced Friday that he chose his Cannon building office number as an ode to pi.
Of course, for some congresspeople, the holiday is simply an excuse to carbo-load.
Getting ready to celebrate pi day with some homemade pies! pic.twitter.com/0lBVc2EXw2— Bill Foster (@RepBillFoster) March 14, 2014
Excited to celebrate pi day in the office! pic.twitter.com/G5M0JWH9Iu— Senator Angus King (@SenAngusKing) March 14, 2014
The history of pi isn’t without its political tie-ins.
In 1897, the Indiana General Assembly almost passed a bill that would have effectively changed the value of pi to 3.2. Luckily, a Purdue mathematician intervened and pi emerged unscathed.
And filibustering pols could take a lesson from China’s Chao Lu, the Guinness world record holder for pi recitation. Lu reportedly spent 24 hours and 4 minutes reciting -- from memory -- the first 67,890 digits of pi without a single bathroom break. That’s just 14 minutes shy of the longest congressional filibuster on record.
Even Healthcare.gov joined in the Pi Day fun with a tie-in of its own:
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