Tag Archives: pi

Easter Eggs

This fun fact isn’t about the practice of painting/hiding actual/plastic eggs during Easter. This is about the other kind of “easter egg”, various in-media jokes, hidden messages, or other feature that is often hidden from the viewer. For instance, sometimes Google Maps will instruct the user to “swim across the Pacific Ocean” when giving directions that involve crossing the Pacific Ocean. Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails and Venetian Snares have incorporated pictures into the spectrographic representations of their songs. The tenth comic from Randall Munroe’s xkcd is an image where pi is equal to 3.141592653589793helpimtrappedinauniversefactory7108914, poking fun at the simulated universe idea by putting an easter egg in pi. Various other Google services also include easter eggs including recursion. Finally, video games. Secret rooms, glitches, blatant references to other media. The video game medium is chock full of so many easter eggs that they’re not really worth mentioning. Except for maybe one: the Konami Code (↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A). First seen in the 1986 NES game Gradius and popularized in the NES release of Contra, the Code has been seen across media, not just Konami Games.

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On Infinite Monkeys and Shakespeare

The infinite monkey theorem is the idea that, given an infinite amount of monkeys, typewriters, paper and time, those monkeys will eventually the entire works of Shakespeare or any given text. The infinite monkey theorem stems from the ideas that given infinite time even nearly impossible events become almost certain and that an infinite string of information will contain an extremely improbable sub-string such as Hamlet, the King James Bible or a portion of pi. Finally, in 2003 University of Plymouth researchers used a £2,000 grant to put the infinite monkey theorem to the test. Using six macaques, a computer keyboard and a radio transmitter to obtain the results. The results after the one month test? No Shakespeare. The monkeys produces five pages containing little more than the letter ‘S’ and the keyboard was made filthy from being used as a receptacle for biological waste by said monkeys, but they taught the researchers that monkeys are not random string generators. Actually, macaques rather like the letter ‘S’.

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Filed under Mathematics