For regions like the US with a mm/dd/yy calendar order today gives 3/14/15 -- the first five digits of Pi 3.1415. going a bit further you get the first ten digits - 3.141592653 - at 9:26:53.
Only one day every century has this relation. And that brings up a curious relation with Einstein whose birthday is today. In 1915 he published his paper on General Relativity. To call it remarkable is understatement of the grandest order.
There is a foundational paper published a bit earlier with an astonishing opening paragraph. A non-technical phrasing might be: “Here is my theory of the dynamics of space and time, with an introduction to its mathematical underpinnings, as well as derivations of all the previous laws of physics within this new framework.” He mentions Grossman, but that was help with the math rather than the underlying physics. I doubt we’ll ever see such a dramatic leap penned by an individual for a theory that holds up to experiment. And it has held solidly for a century!
What you need to do is celebrate. He had a sweet tooth and liked vanilla ice cream cones with chocolate sprinkles. He also had a fondness for fruit, particularly cherry, pie - so perhaps a slice of cherry pie with a scoop of ice cream is appropriate. You might throw care to the wind and add some chocolate shavings or sprinkles...
And it is a day to celebrate William Jones - the person who believed (but didn't prove) the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle was irrational and should have it's own symbol.
the symbol for this ratio known today as π (pi) dates from the early 18th century. Before this the ratio had been awkwardly referred to in medieval Latin as: quantitas in quam cum multiflicetur diameter, proveniet circumferencia (the quantity which, when the diameter is multiplied by it, yields the circumference).
It is widely believed that the great Swiss-born mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707-83) introduced the symbol π into common use. In fact it was first used in print in its modern sense in 1706 a year before Euler's birth by a self-taught mathematics teacher William Jones (1675-1749) in his second book Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos, or A New Introduction to the Mathematics based on his teaching notes.
Before the appearance of the symbol π, approximations such as 22/7 and 355/113 had also been used to express the ratio, which may have given the impression that it was a rational number. Though he did not prove it, Jones believed that π was an irrational number: an infinite, non-repeating sequence of digits that could never totally be expressed in numerical form. In Synopsis he wrote: '... the exact proportion between the diameter and the circumference can never be expressed in numbers...'. Consequently, a symbol was required to represent an ideal that can be approached but never reached. For this Jones recognised that only a pure platonic symbol would suffice.
I have not come across any indication of Jones' dessert preferences. Then again he was Welsh. Pie in the day was likely meat filled.
Already in 2010 China’s soy imports accounted for more than 50% of the total global soy market. From a low base, grain imports are rising fast as well: the US Grains Council, a trade body, predicts that by 2022 China will need to import 19m-32m tonnes of corn. That equates to between a fifth and a third of the world’s entire trade in corn today.
As a result, land use is changing drastically on the other side of the world. In Brazil, more than 25m hectares of land—parts of which were once Amazon rainforest—are being used to cultivate soy (Chinese companies have not signed up to the “soy roundtable”, a voluntary association, the members of which agree not to buy soyabeans from newly deforested land). Entire species of plants and trees are being sacrificed to fatten China’s pigs. Argentina has chopped down thousands of hectares of forest and shifted its traditional cattle-breeding to remote areas to make way for soyabeans. Since 1990 the Argentine acreage given over to that crop has quadrupled: the country exports almost all of its whole soyabeans—around 8m tonnes—to China. In some areas farmers harvest two or three crops a year, using herbicides that have been linked to birth defects and increased cancer rates.
All these imports have made China ever-more exposed to global commodity prices. China has responded by buying land in other countries, some of which is used to grow feed crops or to raise pigs that are sold onto the domestic market at preferential prices. China itself is secretive about these purchases, but the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian think-tank, calculates that it has bought 5m hectares in developing countries; others think the total is higher. When Shuanghui, China’s largest pork producer, bought Smithfield Foods, an American firm, in 2013, it acquired huge stretches of Missouri and Texas. As demand for pork rises, China’s porcine empire is sure to expand.
Our official description is “An artist-led think tank that examines the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems,” but we’ve been working on a new way of defining Genomic Gastronomy in the last year, which is “the study of organisms and environments manipulated by human food culture.”
We were really interested in looking at food from the prospective of biology and ecology. The title “Genomic Gastronomy” came from a play on molecular gastronomy, which was (and is still) very popular. [Molecular gastronomy] was all about chemistry and a reductive approach to food: how do we understand the base chemical elements of food and build up a narrative or event from these chemical constituents?
When we started in 2010, there was a big transition in the high-end cuisine world from [restaurants like] El Bulli and Fat Duck to NOMA and the Scandinavian approach. We started joking that NOMA was really just a restaurant that was doing “Genomic Gastronomy” and that they stole our idea. [It was] a bit facetiously because we thought well, we are artists and don’t have a big relationship with the restaurant or food world. But then, about two years ago, we were contacted by Nordic Food Lab (NOMA’s R&D restaurant) and we went over and had dinner with them. It actually turns out that there IS a lot of crossover, which is really fascinating. They are interested in terroir and time and place in [a given] region of the world. But they also spend a lot of time looking at the different cultivars of plants, and different sub-species of fish and ecosystems of fisheries. While we’re trying to push ideas from an artistic angle, looking at biotech and ecology, high end cuisine is already heading in this direction, so there was an interesting confluence we hadn’t predicted.
I tried to do some back of the envelope calculations on the energy input for grass vs grain finished beef a few years ago, but gave up as there are too many unmeasured variables to make a statement one way or another. The bottom line is it takes a huge amount of energy to make meat - beef requires more than pork which requires more than chicken which requires more than insects.
A piece in the Washington Post looks at some of the issues. "grass fed" only means grass finished and there is a lot of variation in how it is done. In some cases it is not as good (in some set of metrics) than grain finished.