*Prepper Stuff*Jeff Soyer on 12 May 2014 02:38 am

Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilisation has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of pi and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do?

If ever you find yourself in this situation, youâ€™ll be glad of the work of Vincent Dumoulin and FĂ©lix Thouin at the UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al in Canada. These guys have worked out how to calculate an approximate value of pi using the distribution of pellets from a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun, which they assume would be widely available in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Full how-to details at the link, if you’re really interested. Here’s my 500, and my calculator. I’m guessing the calculator is easier, so I’ll just include that in my survival room.

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on 12 May 2014 at 8:02 am #comatusNah. Any event that makes me unable to remember 3.14159 should be sufficient to disable my use of a shotgun. It *would* serve as a junior-high level proof of pi’s application in the real world, *if* more junior-high students carried shotguns, and *if* (here it comes) the approximation were rather closer to the actual number you have every right to expect. 22 over 7 comes closer.

Of course the difference is due to imperfections in shot size, right? I’m just concerned that myriad (that’s Greek, ma’am) 870 fans will use this as yet another way to pick on poor old Mossberg.

The shot-counters are blaming sample size; they always do. This isn’t really a physics experiment. It’s a statistics case-in-point. Mathematics properly executed is dead-ass accurate. Statistics is an extension of power-point. Science, “as seen on TV”? Religion.

I give old Pythagoras credit: he thought he’d founded a religion.

He did this with nothing but his mind, and a handful of beans.

on 13 May 2014 at 8:25 am #Earl355 / 113 = 3.1415929

If your an old Electronics Engineer who used to use a 4 function calculator to design circuits this became very important…

There were a few other identities like this but alas this is the one I remember…