Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Facebook Page: Keeping it Surreal

I finally got around to make a Facebook page for my blog 'Keeping it Surreal'. The idea had been fluttering around my head like a butterfly for quite some time. Sometimes the fluttering would cease, as if the butterfly was resting, possibly upon some flowers of imagination in my mind. It did however take a bit of time to implement the idea, mostly because time is such a precious commodity now.

Time has always been a precious commodity but when responsibilities pile up, there is little left for yourself. And with that little comes the opportunity cost attached. If I do this, then I wouldn't be able to do that, and if I do that I wouldn't be able to do that other thing. It's like one of my first classes in Economics, where I was taught the definition of Economics. Economics is the allocation of limited resources in the most efficient way, so as to minimize the opportunity cost attached. That could very well be the definition of life itself, for everything has an opportunity cost. I guess now would be a adequate time to clarify what exactly is meant by opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is everything you forgo due to you choosing what you are going to do. For example, if I am writing this blog at this particular moment in time, the opportunity cost would be sleeping, watching TV, reading a good book, going out or working. Opportunity cost is therefore attached to each and every choice we make in life, period.

So why did I make a Facebook page for my blog? I am not entirely sure. I love writing, and I have been too busy to blog for some time. Possibly making a Facebook page would make me want to update it regularly and so would give me an excuse to be more vigilant in my writings. Writing is a way of finding joy in life for me. What I do know for sure is that I would love to help others find that joy along with me. Because life has its ups and downs. We all feel depressed and unhappy sometimes. Everyone has been hurt or lost someone. That is life and what binds humanity together. If I find something that would make me feel better and share it, I would consider it a blessing if it brings peace to others as well.

What plans do I have for my Facebook Page 'Keeping it Surreal'? I think I will just go with the flow and see what feels right. I would share my blog posts, thoughts, the surreal aspects of life, possibly some inspirational stories, and maybe even jokes. I am toying with the idea of sharing pictures there too, of nature and stars, Living in the concrete jungle that constitutes city life, we have got out of touch with nature. I miss nature. I miss stars. I used to love watching stars at night when I was a kid. Now with so much city lights, I feel lucky if I catch a star in the sky now and then. I have discovered a new found love of photography, mostly of natural elements. Maybe I will share those pictures too. From today onwards I will share everything with the hashtag #KeepingItSurreal so it is easy to find my posts on Facebook.

Wish me 'Goodluck' please and kindly like my page on Facebook 'Keeping it Surreal'. I would sincerely appreciate any support on this journey because in the words of the immortal Coco Chanel, "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." Here's to us all having some courage. Amen to that.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Understanding Pi Day

Everyone who has studied basic school mathematics has at one time or another stumbled upon the number Pi, more commonly recognized by the symbol π. π is calculated to be the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's diameter. What's interesting is that this ratio remains the same, regardless of the size of the circle. However the number is irrational and goes on forever till infinity. The value of π is 3.14159265358979..... and so on till infinity.

Now to be honest, I had never given much thought to the value of π because I have used it so many times in Math classes from school through university. When you get used to something, it becomes a norm, you tend to take it for granted. It doesn't occur to you that π may have any significance apart from solving various formulas like finding the area of a circle or the volume of a cylinder. Today however, π intrigued me. This is because today the world is celebrating π. How intriguing that March 14, 2015 at the time 9:26:53 is the same value as the first ten digits of π. It is as if π is indignantly proclaiming it's right to be noticed, especially when it has such an integral role in Mathematics.

So what does God want us to know about π? I have always felt that mathematics plays a mysterious role in the universe. Let's learn a bit more about π and maybe we can try to grasp it's significance. Some people claim that π is almost 4000 years old, though it only came be officially known as π in 1706 when a mathematician William Jones published his work 'A Summary of Achievements in Mathematics,' and came up with the symbol π to represent the irrational infinite number 3.141592. However much before that, Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212BC) is said to have come discovered this number for the first time while other ancient texts such as the Rhind Papyrus (1650 BC) and an ancient Babylonian tablet (1900-1680 BC) also talk about π.

Now that we have covered some history, lets analyze why Pi is so special. It is irrational, but there are other equally special and important irrational numbers in Mathematics such as the base of natural logarithms denoted by 'e', the under root of 2 and even the golden ratio 0.618.....π is unique. There is the compelling paradox that π is so random that the next number in the sequence has no pattern to the previous one, yet it is encompassed in the epitome of mathematical order, a perfect circle.Observe the image of the progression of the first ten thousand digits of π below. Logically one would expect randomness to exist in a state of chaos but instead what we stumble upon is pure symmetrical aesthetics.

π is not just confined to Mathematics. In the world of physics, it plays a role in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and the Schrödinger wave equation which explains behavior of particles on an atomic level. Then there is the de Broglie hypothesis that states all matter in the universe is actually a wave. When we look at waves, we automatically think of cycles, and rhythms. π is also present in the formula for the Fourier Series. So what all this concludes is that π is everywhere, within the helix of the DNA, within the circular orbit of the stars, within the motion of the cascading rivers to space and time beyond. 

Since we are speaking about physics, it seems appropriate to mention here that the most famous physicist Albert Einstein happened to have been born on 'Pi Day' or 14th March. Interesting coincidence indeed.

The allure of Pi is that it is present everywhere, and within it are woven mysteries which we may never be able unfold. Isn't that the beauty of the universe itself? To reveal enough that is needed and leave the rest to unfold in our imagination. 14th March is indeed a day worth celebrating.