Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.
Ten days ago I was reminded of Einstein’s quote about clothing when I heard the clanging of the basura (trash) men at 8:45 a.m. I had wanted to hand over my black plastic bag full of garbage and recyclable items, but I wasn’t yet out of bed: snuggled under the covers (we were in the cool snap). I wore a green-blue-white plaid flannel nightgown over my pink pj pants that are decorated with hearts and peace signs, the words “love” and “peace,” and cartoony moose and bear faces. I knew I wasn’t going to greet the B-men (or G-men in English) dressed like that (I’ve seen their eyes twinkle and corners of their mouths turn upwards as my attire on other mornings has entered their view), so I pulled my gray wool sweater over all, and started the water for coffee. While that was in progress I washed the previous night’s dishes, reflected on my dreams, and checked on the progress of the B-men.
That night I hadn’t gone to sleep before 2 a.m. as I somehow found myself reworking a workshop presentation in hopes of turning it into a talk for the U-U fellowship. The fellowship depends on lay-led services for three-fourths of its services, so I thought maybe I could present the workshop material. The title would be “Why Aren’t You More Like Me?” and the topic the almost-limitless and wonderful variety of human bodies, sexualities, and genders. I didn’t make much progress as turning a very visual document into a very textual document proved harder and more time-consuming than I anticipated.
Represented in decimal notation March 14 is 03.14. The day was chosen to honor the relationship of a circle’s circumference divided by its diameter, a mathematical constant that has been represented by the Greek letter “π” (pi – pronounced “pie” in English – phonetic spelling “paɪ”) for the last 250 or so years. No ratio of integers (for example, 22/7) can express the exact value of π (although 22/7 closely approximates its decimal value) nor can other fractions. Its decimal representation (3.14159…) has been extended to over ten trillion (1013) digits that appear to be randomly distributed, although there is no proof of this; the series never ends and never becomes a permanently repeating pattern.
Humans have known about pi since antiquity. The earliest written approximations of π are found in Egypt (1650 BCE) and Babylon (1900–1600 BCE), India (600 BCE), and the Hebrew Bible (8th to 3rd centuries BCE) all have approximations close to its current known value.
My current fictional heartthrob, Mr. Finch, explains π to a high school mathematics class in a scene from the television program Person of Interest:
Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
The Albert Einstein site is http://www.alberteinsteinsite.com.
Einstein, like Chaplin, was a pacifist.