Christmas Poem

For those of you that fall into the category of grumpy curmudgeon who grumbles that retail stores are already putting out Christmas paraphernalia, apologies for a Christmas-themed post in early November. Below is a poem I wrote for my in-laws. To put the poem in context, one of the first interactions I had with my now mother-in-law was her telling me that during Christmas she wasn’t having any of my skeptical, atheist nonsense. In her house everyone believed in Santa Clause or didn’t receive any presents from him; deal with it.

This poem was my response.

On the scientific validity of the magical, immortal man known as Santa Clause


Here is the problem I’m facing this season

I’ve devoted myself to both science and reason

But a challenge was stated that told me, in essence,

Believe in Santa or you won’t get any presents.

I could never accept such a fable I fear

A single man bringing gifts to each house once a year

Thus you see that I’m stuck in a quandary indeed

I don’t believe in Santa, but there’s shit that I need

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Happy Pi Day!

Today is one of the most widely celebrated nerd holidays! Pi Day! Pi, of course, is the mathematical constant representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. That constant is irrational, and its decimal goes on forever. The approximation to ten places is 3.1415926535. That means this pi day is a once in a lifetime even when the date is 3/14/15!

piHow does one celebrate this most auspicious holiday? By taking a moment to appreciate all the ways this little number has contributed to our world. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted an excellent piece in celebration of Pi Day discussing how pi is used regularly to allow space travel to occur. Go check it out, it’s a good read.

One of the greatest mathematicians, Albert Einstein, was born on Pi Day (3/14/1879). Freaky!

Even better, legend states that another one of the greatest mathematicians, Archimedes, became so obsessed with the number pi that it ended up causing his death. Stories say he was working on a method to calculate the number of pi when Rome conquered the city he lived in. When confronted by Roman soldiers he reportedly said “do not disturb my circles” instead of cooperating with their commands, so they killed him.

And finally, in honor of Leonard Nimoy who recently passed away, I’ll let Mr. Spock finish off our celebration of pi day.

Live long and prosper!