Happy Super Pi Day: 3.14.15

Today is “Pi Day,” the 14th day of the 3rd month (3.14).  Not only that, it is “Super Pi Day,” with the rest of the date giving the next two numbers: 3.14.15.  Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  Though circles are everywhere, their numeric ratios can never be exact.  The mysterious number represented by the Greek letter π has been proven to be an “irrational number,” one which has an infinite number of non-repeating decimals.  And, yet, the ratio has to be used in all kinds of common calculations, from figuring the area of a circle to analyzing subatomic and astronomical phenomena.

After the jump, an excerpt and a link to an essay on π and pi day by Cornell mathematicisn Tara S. Holm.  Do go to the link for an account of the history of our knowledge of the concept, including a government attempt to regularize it at 3.2 by passing a law.  My favorite part is how Prof. Holm is celebrating the day:  Getting her family together at 9:26 and 53 seconds (the next five numbers) and eating a piece of pie. [Read more...]

Thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return

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A video for Lent

Concordia Publishing House has put together an excellent video explaining what Lent is all about.   See it after the jump. [Read more...]

Lenten reading

One of my customary Lenten observances is always to read some heavy-duty theology or some deep, deep classics of devotion.  Over the years, I’ve read works by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and more modern theologians like Oswald Bayer.  Last year I read Martin Chemnitz, The Two Natures of Christ to my great benefit.  Another year, I read something much, much easier, but even more beneficial:  John Kleinig’s Grace Upon Grace.

I’m kind of undecided about what I will take up this year. Do you have any suggestions?  For me, but also for other readers of this blog?  (My criteria after the jump.) [Read more...]

Lent and Ash Wednesday are NOT pagan relics (a rerun)

Time to rerun a post from last year:

Pastor Joseph Abrahamson dismantles the myth that Lent and its practices have pagan origins. An excerpt from his longer post on the subject:

The ancient Church chose to keep a fast during the forty days before Passover/Easter to focus on repentance and the gift of the Resurrection at Easter. St. Athanasius, who led at the Council of Nicea to defeat Arianism—a denial of Christ being truly God and man in one person—was a bishop in Alexandria, Egypt. He wrote annual Festival letters to the Church as they prepared to celebrate Easter. In the year 331 he wrote in order to encourage his congregations in Egypt to keep the Lenten fast for 40 days. Athanasius directs the readers to many Scriptural examples and exhortations to moderation, self-control, and fasting for repentance. Athanasius gives several Bible examples of the 40 day fast, especially of Christ’s 40 day fast, after which Athanasius wrote: [Read more...]

Presidents’ Day blues

So is it healthy in a democratic republic to have a Presidents’ Day but not a Congress Day or a Supreme Court Day?  Is our preoccupation with chief executives as heads of state–as well as the assumption of many that if we just get a good one, he or she will solve our problems–an atavistic throw-back to monarchy?  Rome ditched its Republic for the more efficient, more powerful political system headed by an Emperor.   Can you see America ever doing the same?

If you have more happy and inspiring thoughts about the Presidents’ Day, please post them here, along with arguments about who was the best president, who were good ones and who were bad ones, and the current prospects for the office.


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